The league-worst New York Islanders could certainly use a spark from their power-play unit.
This is a bad time for a matchup with the Montreal Canadiens.
With their penalty-kill unit coming off an outstanding effort, the Canadiens look to keep the Islanders without a power-play goal yet again when the teams meet Saturday night.
Montreal (7-1-1) killed off each of Minnesota’s 10 power-play chances in a 2-1 win Thursday night. The Canadiens entered the game ranked 14th in the league in penalty killing, and the Wild had the third-best power play.
“That’s probably the best PK game we’ve played all year so far,” Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said. “It’s going to be pretty hard to top that.”
Facing New York (2-6-1) gives Montreal a good chance to build on that success. The Canadiens have killed all 22 of the Islanders’ power-play chances in the teams’ last six meetings, going 5-1-0.
New York is struggling partly due to its problems on the power play. The Islanders have scored on 12.5 percent (6-for-48) of their chances with the man advantage.
During a five-game losing streak (0-4-1), New York is averaging 2.0 goals overall.
Now, the Islanders will likely have to face Price, who tops the league with a 1.91 goals-against average. This would be his first career start against New York.
Price stopped 28 shots versus Minnesota to help Montreal win its second straight. He is 2-0-1 with a 1.62 GAA in three road starts.
With the Canadiens’ offense struggling against the Wild, Montreal needed Price and its penalty-kill unit to come up big. The Canadiens were held under three goals for just the second time this season.
Alex Tanguay, though, had two assists for his fourth multi-point game this season. The veteran winger has six goals and five assists.
The Islanders have been playing without No. 1 goalie Rick DiPietro (lower-body injury), and have allowed 16 goals in their last four games. New York lost 3-2 in overtime against Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Islanders coach Scott Gordon, though, was not discouraged by the loss.
“I told our guys that (it) was just like a tie,” Gordon said. “The secondary point would have just been a bonus. It is more about the 60-minute body of work that we put together. Tonight, our guys played a good hockey game.”
New York’s Joey MacDonald, who replaced DiPietro for the second straight game, stopped 25 shots. DiPietro has been placed on injured reserve.
“We can take a lot of positives out of it,” said MacDonald, who has a 3.42 GAA in seven games.
One bright spot for the Islanders was the return of defenseman Andy Sutton, who had an assist in his season debut. He missed the first eight games while recovering from hand surgery.
New York defenseman Mark Streit and center Doug Weight each extended their point streaks to four games. Streit, who spent the past three seasons with Montreal before signing a five-year, $20.5 million contract with the Islanders on July 1, has three goals and three assists during his run. Weight, who has a team-leading six assists, has four assists during his streak.