New York Islanders vs Montreal Canadiens: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Bell Centre – Montreal, PQ., Canada.

When: Thursday, March 21, 7:30PM EST.

How (TV/Radio): TSN2, RDS, MSG+ | TSN 690, WFAN

New York Islanders (Away)

Head Coach: Barry Trotz {All-Time 804-591-60-142 NSH, WAS, NYI}

At the time of writing, the New York Islanders have gone 42-23-7 this season and 6-4-0 in their last ten games. They currently sit tied for first place in the Metropolitan division with the Washington Capitals (six spots above the wildcard) and are tied for fourth in the entire Eastern Conference with 91 points.

Statistically, these two teams are quite evenly matched and both bring their own strengths and weaknesses to the game. The Islanders, offensively, will have to make every shot count. They’re tenth overall shooting percentage needs to be utilized as they only rank 28th in the league is shooting averages.

To counter that point, however, the New York Islanders also allow the fewest goals against in the league, keeping things under 2.35 on average. The Islanders will hold some other smaller advantages over the Canadiens as well. New York allows fewer shots than their opponents, take fewer penalties than the Habs, and have had more success killing penalties this season. However, it is unlikely that defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be on the blue line for the Islanders in this game as he has been listed as day-to-day with a concussion.

Starting goaltender Robin Lehner is expected to be between the pipes for the Islanders in this away game. Lehner is 20-11-5 on the season with a goals against average of 2.19 and a .927 save percentage. Lehner has registered four shutouts this season.

Montreal Canadiens (Home)

Head Coach: Claude Julien {All-Time 620-407-10-138 MTL, NJD, BOS}

The Canadiens come into this matchup in a worse scenario than their opponents. The Habs are 37-28-7 on the season and have gone 4-6-0 in their last ten games. They currently find themselves sitting three points back of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the final Eastern conference wildcard spot.

Unlike their opponents, however, the Montreal Canadiens have been firing everything they can at the net. They currently rank third in the league, averaging over 33 shots per game, which also gives them a slightly higher average in goals scored over their opponents.

Faceoff wins and powerplay advantages are almost non-existent between these two teams. Like their last matchup, it is expected to be a low-scoring affair.

All-star goaltender Carey Price should be getting the nod in net for the Canadiens. Price has a season record of 29-22-5. His goals-against average is 2.57 and his save percentage sits at .915. He has three shutouts. Price also recently passed Jacques Plante as the Montreal Canadiens all-time leader in wins.

These teams last met a week ago on March 14. The New York Islanders came away victorious with a final score of 2-1.

It is also interesting to note that not even home-ice will play a factor here. The Montreal Canadiens have gone 20-12-4 at the Bell Centre this season but, ironically, the New York Islanders have gone 20-12-3 on the road.

What’s At Stake?

The Eastern conference has routinely been the tighter conference coming into the playoffs. Every point matters for every team. The Islanders currently sit in a playoff spot atop the Metro division, but the Caps are tied with them and the Pittsburgh Penguins are only three points behind. The Isles can not afford to take Montreal lightly.

The Canadiens, as mentioned earlier, need these points more than their opponents. They are currently in the first seed just outside the wildcard position. The Habs have what it takes to beat the Islanders and move closer towards the playoffs so long as they can play a disciplined game.

Questions to answer

Will this game essentially become the Robin Lehner vs. Carey Price show, as most major statistics between the teams are identical?

Can Robin Lehner and the Islanders defense contain the Canadiens and their high-shooting style? Will it overwhelm New York?

New York Islanders Injury Report

F Casey Cizikas – day-to-day (illness)

D Johnny Boychuk – day-to-day (concussion)

Montreal Canadiens Injury Report

None to report.

New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens Predictions and Odds

The New York Islanders are a +125 favorite over the -150 underdog Montreal Canadiens.