Carey Price to return as Canadiens face Islanders
Montreal undefeated last season against New York
With three losses in their last four games (1-2-1), the news of the return of all-star netminder Carey Price could not have come sooner for the Montreal Canadiens.
Backup goalie Mike Condon has played nine consecutive games (5-2-2) and was solid early on in Price's absence, but has struggled recently, allowing opponents to score the first three goals in each of their last three games.
The team announced Thursday night that Price, who suffered the lower-body injury in a game on Oct.29, would return as Montreal makes its first appearance at the Barclays Center to face the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens just announced that Dustin Tokarski has been sent to St. John's. Carey Price will start on Friday night in Brooklyn. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoHabsGo?src=hash">#GoHabsGo</a>—@CanadiensMTL
The 28-year-old participated in full practice for the first time on Wednesday and took to Twitter to confirm the good news.
Despite a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, the Canadiens likely feel good as they head to Brooklyn, having claimed all three victories over the Islanders last season.
They most recently defeated New York 4-1 on Nov.5.
However, the Islanders have won two straight games by a combined score of 9-3 after their 5-2 victory over Arizona on Monday in which captain John Tavares scored twice and added a assist.
Pacioretty gaining momentum
Captain Max Pacioretty has scored in two straight games and leads Montreal with 10 goals. Pacioretty turns 27 Friday. Last year he celebrated his birthday with a two-goal night in a victory over the St.Louis Blues.
Defenceman Alexei Emelin (lower-body injury) has missed the last three games and isn't expected to play until Wednesday at the earliest, meaning he will also miss Sunday's rematch against the Islanders in Montreal.
Islanders on a roll
Tavares has a team-leading nine goals and 17 points while Kyle Okposo, whose contract is up at the end of the season and could be traded or allowed to walk, has a team-best 12 assists.
Brock Nelson, who centres a line with Tavares and Okposo, has scored in three straight games and has six points in his last four contests.
- Islanders C Mikhail Grabovski (three goals, eight points), who has not played more than 58 games in a season since 2011-12, left Monday's contest with an upper-body injury after being sandwiched between two Coyotes and is questionable to play Friday.
- Montreal has trailed 1-0 in its last five games but is 2-2-1 during that span.
- New York yielded one power-play goal in three straight games and six of the last seven while going 2-for-25 with the man-advantage during that span.
With files from SportsDirect Inc.