It's not quite like those infamous and now-expired ruts versus the Senators or Flyers, but the Islanders have sure had their troubles with the Canadiens the last couple of years. While the Islanders' record is 3-5-2 since 2008-09, thanks to the NHL's "The People Demand a Winner" asymmetric standings that record from the Habs' perspective looks like 7-0-3.
Montreal Canadiens (6-2-1) @ New York Islanders (4-3-2)
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored - wait, Sam Sung?] Coliseum
7 p.m. EDT | MSG+2 (twice the plus!), RDS | NHL audio - WRHU 88.7
Partying like it's 1993 the way we party like it's 1983: Habs Eyes on the Prize
That's right: The Islanders don't have a regulation win over the Habs the last two-plus seasons, and Kyle Okposo's OT winner was the only "win" that didn't depend on the shootout. From the GF/GA perspective (excluding the fake "goal" the NHL gives you for winning the shootout), the Isles have been outscored 34-20 in that time.
Now, it's a different Islanders team this year, but as has been discussed quite a lot around here, it's not clear how different -- especially with the tired-but-still-true caveat about this team missing its best defenseman and best right wing.
While today's topic will inevitably turn to "Bruno Gervais, Fourth-Line Forward?" Scott Gordon's Topic of the Day after Wednesday's dismal showing was Islanders turnovers:
"Sometimes there just isn’t a play to be made," Gordon said. "If you keep trying to make that play, and hope that with odds of it being 50-50, that it’s going to work towards our advantage -- we need better odds in the risk-reward department, so that we’re not always having to defend our mistakes at our net."
Yes, puck management with a young team -- though you don't get a pass, Mr. Weight -- is huge. One one hand you have talented young players like John Tavares, Josh Bailey, and the Prospect Interrupted Jack Hillen learning that they can do more with their creativity at this level.
On the other hand, you have those guys and many others butting up against that constant push/pull force known as NHL-level competition. To make incisive puck decisions at this level, you need the hands, the feet and the mind all moving at the same time. If one of those three is taking the night off, the other two can't make up the deficit.
- As noted, Bruno Gervais is actually going to dress in his first game tonight. As a forward. Suppose he gets more shifts than Trevor Gillies?
- Update: Dwayne Roloson gets the start again. Trent Hunter will also play. Michael Grabner not expected in either game this weekend.
- Alex Auld gets his first start of the season, as Carey Price gets a rest. Jaroslav Halak got his second consecutive shutout for the Blues last night.
Links for Reading During Conference Calls
- Tonight is the night the Isles promo'd on their site as "No Habs No," which is pretty funny.
- Is Rob Schremp Hockey doing a rehab stint that he wasn't supposed to announce? [Soundin' Off] The Tweet disappeared, but they confirmed it today.
- The Post write-up on Nino Niederreiter had a little more from Scott Gordon on what it would've taken for him to remain.
- Local Nino coverage from Portland, as noted and discussed in BC's FanShot
- Coverage of Kirill Kabanov's trade (finally): Lewiston official site | Lewiston local media (lots of Lewiston quotes there) | Caps blog Ravings of a Rink Rebel recaps the entire Kabanov saga
- Chris Botta with one last final-I-swear post on the goal song as chosen by Zenon Konopka
- Congrats to Jimmy D, Hall of Famer [Isles official site]
Ticket Deal Notice (check your email if you did the $20.10 deal)
From the Islanders: Fans that were emailed vouchers with incorrect game dates for the $20.10 ticket offer will receive new vouchers via email tomorrow.
First Goal Poll - FIG
Update: If you're posting your pick in this post, please do it via reply to this JP comment, to make it easier on him.
MTBVibe and Hakker share the spoils so far, and the season-long winner gets to rent the house where Hopalong Cassidy had his weird bow-and-arrow incident. Put your picks in the first comment of the game thread (reply to whoever is first) which will be up a half hour before puck drop, or if you can't make it there, you're allowed to place them here.
Music as a topic here is probably best left for summer's slow period, but Killing Joke is coming to New York in December and I can't wait. So there. Try and tell me the bass line on this new song "Absolute Dissent" doesn't get you jumping. (Recommended only if you like post-punk groove stylings and the ravings of a paranoid genius who conducts symphonies when he's not leading an obscure but influential band.)