John Tavares

Report: Islanders recall Poulin, could get Leddy back soon

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The New York Islanders ready for a brief two-game road trip with some injury matters to consider.

New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple passes along word that Kevin Poulin has been recalled from the AHL, as Jaroslav Halak isn’t expected to join the team in Chicago on Tuesday. It’s unclear what, exactly, Halak is dealing with, but it may not be serious.

Staple also reports that Nick Leddy could be approaching his return to the Islanders lineup:

Leddy (pictured) has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury.

This might be a good time for the Islanders to gather their wits, as they’ve lost three games in a row and six of their last eight. The New York Rangers are pulling away enough that the Islanders really might just be fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but either way they’d certainly prefer to get out of this minor funk before the playoffs begin.

John Tavares expects them to work their way out of this, for one.

Habs ride brilliant Price performance to win vs. Isles

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If you look at Saturday’s Montreal Canadiens – New York Islanders game as a showcase between two potential Hart Trophy candidates (rather than two East contenders), then Carey Price got the best of John Tavares tonight.

Price was brilliant once again for Montreal, stopping 35 out of 36 shots as the Habs beat the Islanders 3-1. Tavares created some great chances – as usual – yet Price was game for all of his six shots on net.

Price’s stop on Matt Martin was probably the sexiest highlight of them all, though:

In reality, this wasn’t just about two stars, especially since there were plenty of other standout talents on the ice like P.K. Subban. It was a great night for Max Pacioretty (a goal on a gaffe by Michal Neuvirth) and a not-so-great evening for Kyle Okposo and Johnny Boychuk, who both suffered with -3 ratings.

The out-of-town scoreboard was also friendly to the Canadiens and unfriendly to the Islanders. While the Tampa Bay Lightning muffed their chance to keep pace with Montreal, the New York Rangers took care of business against the Buffalo Sabres. That leaves the Habs strongly in first place in the Atlantic Division while the Isles face an uphill battle to catch the Rangers in the Metro.

Both teams seem like they’re on the upswing overall, but it was Montreal that took a step forward tonight.

Mitchell (upper body) won’t return for Montreal

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The Montreal Canadiens will be down a skater for the rest of Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders as Torrey Mitchell suffered an upper-body injury.

(Mitchell may have been injured in an exchange with John Tavares.)

Mitchell, 30, was excited to get traded to his hometown team during the deadline. He hasn’t scored a point in six games with the Canadiens so far this season, although that’s not exactly what they acquired him for, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Islanders

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NBCSN presents quite a treat on Saturday night, as the New York Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens.

While Montreal made it to the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, one could argue that the two teams are still trying to establish themselves as perennial contenders in this conference. In fact, a win could put one of the two squads atop their respective division.

There’s plenty of star power on hand, from John Tavares to Carey Price to P.K. Subban. You can watch the action on NBCSN as well as via NBC Live Sports Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Read more about the game in this preview.

NHL on NBCSN: Habs and Islanders battle for top spot in their respective divisions

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the New York Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens at Nassau Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Crucial points are up for grabs tonight as the Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders vie for top spot in their respective divisions.

The Habs (42-19-7) are tied in points (91) with the Tampa Bay Lightning (42-20-7) atop the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. Meanwhile the Islanders (42-17-7) trail the Rangers (43-23-4) by one point for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

Both teams enter Saturday’s meeting looking to avoid a third straight loss.

For the Canadiens, they’re looking to avoid a third straight loss this month. The Islanders have dropped back-to-back games and have just one win in their last four. New York has also lost three straight on home ice.

Since opening the season 17-4-0 at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders are 6-7-0.

Montreal has won both meetings this season and five of the past six. Habs’ starter Carey Price, who is a front-runner for the Vezina Trophy, is 4-1-0 with a 1.40 GAA and a shutout in his last five starts against New York. He also has a .965 save percentage during three straight wins at Nassau Coliseum.

Islanders’ captain John Tavares, who has a one point lead on Alex Ovechkin in the Art Ross race entering Saturday’s play, has been held off the score sheet in two straight games matching his longest drought of the season. He has 10 points in his last seven games against the Canadiens.

Kyle Okposo, who will play in his third game since returning from an eye injury, has two goals and an assist against the Habs this season.

Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has a goal and three assists in two meetings between the two clubs while forward Tomas Plekanec has two goals and two assists.

Tonight is the third and final game between the two teams this season and Montreal’s final regular season visit to Nassau Coliseum.