Slumping Islanders hit new low after home loss to Canadiens

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The New York Islanders had been playing some bad hockey of late, but they had a good opportunity to get back on track this week, as they had a home-and-home date with the Montreal Canadiens. Not only did the Isles fail to sweep a team that has been out of the playoff picture for months, they managed to drop both games.

The Habs went up 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 in the first two periods, but the Islanders managed to tie the game each time. In the third frame, Montreal went up 5-3 thanks to goals by Paul Byron and Noah Juulsen (his first NHL goal). The Canadiens added an empty-netter to bury the Islanders by a score of 6-3. Alex Galchenyuk, who played in his 400th NHL game, finished the night with three goals and an assist.

The Isles now find themselves four points behind Columbus for the final Wild Card spot in the East. They’ve also been passed by Carolina and Florida this week. Since beating the Hurricanes on Feb. 16, New York has dropped five games in a row.

Sure, they were without Jordan Eberle (undisclosed) and Casey Cizikas (attending the birth of his first child) tonight, but that’s no excuse to lose a home game to a horrible road team. To top it all off, the Canadiens lost defenseman Victor Mete to injury in the first period and captain Max Pacioretty (lower body) in the third period, and the Islanders still couldn’t get the better of them.

Check out this note that beat reporter Arthur Staple tweeted out before tonight’s game:

General manager Garth Snow added Chris Wagner and Brandon Davidson before the trade deadline, but those moves clearly didn’t give the players in the locker room added hope.

The Islanders will now hit the road for four games in Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Even though three of those four teams aren’t in the playoffs, they still won’t be easy outs.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.