The Islanders got their best scorer back on Thursday, but it didn’t make much of a difference.
Despite returning John Tavares (illness) from a three-game absence, the Isles kept struggling offensively on Thursday night, scoring just once in a 4-1 defeat to the Habs in Montreal.
The Canadiens, as has often been the case early this season, rode the unexpected offensive surge of Dale Weise, who scored the opener. The goal was Weise’s eighth of the year, putting him on par with the likes of Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin and Joe Pavelski among the NHL’s leaders.
The goal also gave Weise sole possession of the team lead, moving one ahead of Max Pacioretty.
New York — who, over a previous five-game stretch from Oct. 12-23, scored 21 times — only wishes it could get such secondary scoring right now.
Kyle Okposo notched the lone marker tonight, just the Isles’ eighth in the last five games. When the 60 minutes were up, the team was once again looking at a supporting cast of scorers that continued to not get the job done — Ryan Strome has just one goal in 12 games, Mikhail Grabovski two in 13, Nikolay Kulemin two in 13 as well.
As for the Canadiens, this was their third straight win, coming on the strength of goals from four different skaters — Weise, David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec. They also got another stellar effort from backup netminder Mike Condon, who stopped 18 of 19 shots faced.
Condon is now 5-0-1 since taking over starting duties from the injured Carey Price.