Canadiens-Islanders Preview

The Associated Press

The Montreal Canadiens' offense suddenly has gone cold following the team's recent surge, leaving coach Michel Therrien concerned.

A date with the slumping New York Islanders could help solve those woes.

Montreal looks to avoid a third straight defeat when it visits New York on Saturday night.

The Canadiens (19-11-3) have followed a 9-0-1 stretch with Tuesday's 6-0 loss to Los Angeles and a 2-1 defeat at Philadelphia on Thursday. They registered 32 non-shootout goals during their run but have failed to generate much offensively over the last two.

Montreal finished with 21 shots against the Flyers.

"It will take a lot of intensity on offense to get ourselves out of this hole," Therrien said. "It's been two games that I've been noticing that we need to up our offense a notch.

"Our work ethic is what will get us through this stretch. We're not throwing enough pucks at the opposing team's net."

Alex Galchenyuk's goal came with 56 seconds remaining in the last game.

"For whatever reason, we just weren't playing the way that we were supposed to play in the first period," defenseman Josh Gorges said. "We got ourselves behind the eight ball. I thought as the game went on we did play better, but it's too tough in this league to try and come from behind and scratch one out."

Facing an Islanders team that ranks among the worst in the NHL with 115 non-shootout goals allowed could help cure the Canadiens' offensive issues.

New York (9-19-5) has lost 11 of 12, giving up at least four goals seven times in that stretch. It fell 6-3 to Phoenix on Thursday to conclude a 1-4-0 road trip.

Captain John Tavares, Eric Boulton and Kyle Okposo scored.

"To give up six goals like that and leave our goalie out to dry after making some big saves again is unacceptable," said Tavares, who has two goals and three assists over the last three. "We're not going to win too many hockey games if we're getting back to habits like that."

Coach Jack Capuano hopes New York can sort out its issues as it tries to avoid a fifth straight home loss.

''We just couldn't get in a rhythm, and for whatever reason we tried to over-handle the puck," Capuano said. "You're not going to have success in this league. Guys are too fast, too strong.''

Kevin Poulin made 31 saves, but he's 1-7-0 with a 4.03 goals-against average over his last eight starts. The Islanders could choose to start Evgeni Nabokov, who was activated from injured reserve and backed up Poulin on Thursday.

Nabokov hasn't played since suffering a groin injury against Detroit on Nov. 16. He's 7-3-0 with a 2.86 GAA in 11 career starts against the Canadiens.

Galchenyuk and Lars Eller had a goal and two assists apiece, and Carey Price made 24 saves in Montreal's 4-2 win over the Islanders on Nov. 10.

Price won seven straight starts before losing the last two, posting a 2.14 GAA during that stretch. He's 4-1-1 with a 2.98 GAA in his last six starts against the Islanders.

Tavares has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak against the Canadiens after recording two assists in the first meeting this season.