Just pray for goals and don't pray for the breakaway drill. Tonight features two of the lowest scoring teams in the Eastern Conference, and the two biggest shootout losers in the league.
Islanders (9-12-6, 14th/E) @ Hockey Club from Montreal (12-11-7, 10th/E)
7:30 p.m. EST | MSG+2 (twice the plus!) | Audio: NHL - WRHU
Le [part-owner of the Maple Leafs] Centre
Eyes on Martin: Habs Eyes on the Prize
The New York Islanders are up to 2.3 goals per game -- quite a boost thanks to their recent scoring binge of 19 goals in five games which took them over the 2.0 threshold -- but still good for only last in the East and 28th in the league. The Hockey Club from Montreal offense isn't much better at 2.43 goals per game, just a fraction better than the New Jersey Devils and good for just 25th in the league. These two teams are also the NHL's two most frequent
shootout extra time (OT and shootout) victims, with the Islanders 0-6 (0-2 in shootouts) and the team from Montreal 3-7 (1-5 in shootouts) in that post-game coin flip.
Are the Montreal hockey club's shootout woes due to a certain move on Carey Price? Eyes on the Prize investigates that one. We do our own navel-gazing after the jump.
Well, one more bit of Montreal-gazing first: For middling teams, the search for the proverbial "turning point" always carries on. We saw it ourselves last year during the Capuano Spring. We saw it this year during the "This November Isn't Quite Like Last November...Is It?" angst. And so it goes with Montreal after their win over the Devils, when they dodged the bullet known as the Zach Parise penalty shot with the game on the line. Eyes on the Prize also takes on that theory.
For the low-scoring Montreal inhabitants, the un-Markovian powerplay (just 11.8%) is a factor, as is a rather Islanders-like 29.7 shots per game. To address the former, they bit the bullet and welcomed the Contract Formerly Known as Tomas Kaberle, and of course he had two assists in his Hockey Club from Montreal debut.
Hockey Inside/Out, which was once known as Habs Inside/Out before the Hockey Club from Montreal asserted its God-given trademark rights, has a good collection of Montreal hockey-related stuff, including this story on Kaberle trade bait Jaro Spacek.
For the Islanders, the lineup remains the same because the lineup has the same options. Al Montoya starts again, although his backup is now Evgeni Nabokov (off IR) instead of Kevin Poulin (returned to Bridgeport). Micheal Haley was likewise returned to Bridgeport, and with Nino Niederreiter still out due to post-concussion caution, there are no other lineup options for tonight.
The most interesting thing, as far as roster- or role-gazing, might be if Jack Capuano follows through on any changes to the powerplay after a 1-13 weekend.
Reading for When Not Reading about Assault Cases
- Brenden Kichton, profiled in this piece at IPB, has been cut from Canada's WJC camp.
- Own a piece of Islanders history! Bid now on this Islanders 1979-80 Stanley Cup ... and start guessing whose it is. "trophy lists eight executives ranging from president and general manager William A. Torrey to the coaches and scouts. Also acknowledged are the 23 players."
- Late Add: Almost forgot, Fornabaio's Sound Tigers chat is today at 1:30 p.m.
- Eric Hornick's 40 in 40 bit on Chicken Parm was a good read and memory lane trip.
- And of course, if you missed it overnight or this morning: Corey Trivino, arrested, kicked off the BU team, and in a general amount of trouble.
- Insightful reading: The Best Young Line In Hockey (It's Not Who You Think. Nope, Not Them Either.) - The Copper & Blue
- And fun with "team's record when X is in the lineup" (something we touched on yesterday after Haley's demotion) over here: The Oilers Record With, And Without, Ales Hemsky | Edmonton Journal
- As anticipated, the Kings fired Terry Murray. [FanShot here ... my SB Nation column on "setup men" coaches like Murray here] John Stevens is the current interim coach, but it sounds like they might want someone more un-Murray like. Kings GM Dean Lombardi, reportedly fiercely loyal to colleagues like Murray, lambasted the players for making it come to this.
- In Philly, rising star Claude Giroux is definitely out with a concussion. Yikes.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks (with assists, and time and such) in this thread over here.