(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Tonight's game in Long Island may make or break the Montreal Canadiens season.
With Carey Price out with the flu and Jaroslav Halak to make his first start since a 5-2 embarrassment to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadiens may have their hands full with a New York Islanders squad full of confidence as they hope to play spoiler at least once this season.
Eliminated first out of the playoff picture and currently sitting first in the NHL Draft Lottery, the Islanders have shown strong performances as of late, including a, 2-0, shutout of the league leading Detroit Red Wings.
They've kept pace with the Philadelphia Flyers, losing only, 4-3, and losing only, 5-3, to the Washington Capitals, however far from the Canadiens the Islanders are, they have given the Canadiens headaches and tantrums all season.
On November 1, the Islanders blew a, 4-1, lead to lose 5-4 to the Canadiens, after dominating the first 40 minutes of the hockey game.
Recently, on March 12, the Islanders squeaked out of the Bell Centre with a 3-2 overtime win in which the Bell Centre faithful booed the Canadiens off the ice, in a game that cost the Canadiens a costly point.
Now, the Canadiens walk back into Nassau Coliseum with a task against the feistiest team in the NHL at this stage of the season.
Without Sergei Kostitsyn and possibly without Roman Hamrlik, although he made the trip, the Canadiens have two points up for grabs that hopefully will not go squandered.
This game at hand may prove to be critical for their playoff lives, with a win pushing them over the New York Rangers into seventh and a loss putting them in a more susceptible position for elimination by the up-and-coming Florida Panthers.
The teams, who have nothing to play for, may be the most dangerous teams for those who have something still to play for.