The Islanders look to keep their point-streak alive against a struggling Canadiens team.
The New York Islanders‘ interesting schedule to begin the 2021-22 season continues on Thursday, when they’ll be playing their first game since Saturday. The Islanders will be in Canada for the first time in two seasons to take on the Montreal Canadiens.
The Islanders are off to a subpar start to commence the season, especially for a team that played in the Eastern Conference Final just a few months ago.
However, they are on a five-game point-streak, which they look to keep alive against an underperforming Habs team.
The Canadiens look nothing like the team that just featured in the Stanley Cup Final. With six points in 11 games so far, they’re one of the worst teams in the NHL. They don’t score much and give up a lot of goals.
However, they are coming off a shutout win against the Detroit Red Wings, so the Islanders will have to do what they can to prevent the Canadiens from using this game as an opportunity to build any type of momentum.
Offensively, both teams are two of the worst in the league. Up and down the lineup, their players have been struggling to put the puck in the back of the net. The Islanders are only slightly better in that regard.
Both teams have underwhelming power plays. The Islanders are below-average on the man-advantage and the Canadiens’ power play is bottom-four in the league.
Defensively, the Islanders aren’t as great as they were last season when they were a top-two defensive team in hockey, but defense is still their strength. The Canadiens are a below-average defensive team.
Similarly, the Islanders aren’t as strong on the penalty kill as they were a short time ago, but they are still good while short-handed. The Canadiens are not: their penalty kill is one of the worst in the NHL.
Canadiens players to watch:
LW Tyler Toffoli
Career vs. Islanders: 14 GP, 6 G (2 PP), 11 PTS
RW Joel Armia
Career vs. Islanders: 10 GP, 2 G (1 PP), 7 PTS
Like their teammates, neither Toffoli nor Armia have gotten off to particularly good starts this season, but both have had success against the Islanders throughout their careers.
Although he isn’t scoring much, Toffoli’s underlying numbers look pretty good and he could be one of Montreal’s biggest threats on Thursday. If there are any players on Montreal’s team that we should be watching for, it’s these two veteran wingers.
Islanders players to watch:
RW Kyle Palmieri
Career vs. Canadiens: 16 GP, 6 G (3 PP), 14 PTS
LW Zach Parise
Career vs. Canadiens: 36 GP, 16 G (5 PP), 29 PTS
Like the Canadiens, no player on the Islanders has gotten off to a scorching start. But New York has some veterans who have been successful against the Canadiens throughout their careers.
Veteran wingers Palmieri and Parise have done well against Montreal and the Islanders would appreciate big games from the two of them.
Parise, in particular, has been playing well in both zones, but is still looking for his first point as an Islander. This would be a great game for Parise, in particular, as well as his linemates to get going.
Another player to watch on Thursday is Montreal goaltender Jake Allen, but for the benefit of the Islanders. With an .865 SV% and 4.03 GAA in six games, Allen has played worse against the Islanders than any other team in his career.
This is obviously an advantage for the Islanders, who have the odds in their favor. They’re relatively hot and are taking on one of the worst teams in the league that employs a goalie who doesn’t play well against them.