NHL on NBCSN: Islanders look to continue strong second half start vs. Habs

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues as the Montreal Canadiens host the New York Islanders at 7:30 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

The Islanders came out of their five-day break rest, refreshed and apparently, ready to score some goals.

On Saturday afternoon, Doug Weight’s men lit up the New York Rangers 7-2 at Madison Square Garden, a phenomenal welcome back after losing five of six heading into the bye week. New York sits one point behind the Rangers for an Eastern Conference wild card spot but are also in the thick of things in the tight Metropolitan Division. While there are some games in-hand to be played by teams, the difference between second place and last in the division is a mere five points.

There’s going to be a lot of movement as these final two-and-a-half months play out, which means it might be tough to not take a peek at the out-of-town scores on a nightly basis.

“We’ve just got to win,” Doug Weight said via Arthur Staple of Newsday. “We put ourselves in a good position early and we kind of put that away; now it’s just a big mess. We don’t need to scoreboard-watch; we need to take care of our business.”

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The Canadiens have a lot more work to do sitting eight points behind the Rangers in the East. They picked up a point during a Saturday night shootout loss to the Boston Bruins, but most concerning was the status of Phillip Danault, who took a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the helmet and had to be stretchered off.

After spending the night at a local hospital under observation, Danault was released on Sunday and is resting at home. His father wrote on Facebook Saturday night that his son was “doing well and his scan came back normal.”

As the Canadiens wait to get Danault back, they have a tough stretch of games this week, which includes two more meetings with the Bruins. Getting good news on their teammate will certainly help with the mindset as they get back to it tonight.

“Phil is a player who plays both ends of the ice. He’s an important player – for the power play, penalty kill,” said Jonathan Drouin. “He’s a big piece of ours at center, but every time someone gets hurt, other guys need to step up.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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