After eight games without a victory, the Montreal Canadiens will try to avoid some ignominious team history when they host the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
The Canadiens are 0-5-3 in their past eight contests, leaving them one more defeat away from tying the 1939-40 squad for the second-longest regular-season losing streak in franchise history. A loss on Tuesday would also tie the Canadiens' record of seven straight regular-season losses on their home ice.
It seemed as of Montreal was on the verge of ending the skid on Sunday against the Boston Bruins, but the Canadiens surrendered three unanswered goals in the last 14 minutes to lose by a 3-1 count.
While the results haven't been pretty, Montreal coach Claude Julien was heartened by his club's overall play both against Boston and at other points during the slide.
"When we look at these last eight games and we look at whether it's scoring chances, how the game was played ... looking at it in a realistic view, we could easily be 4-4 right now," Julien said. "But we haven't won a single game out of those."
If the Canadiens are to break their slump, they won't have an easy time of it against one of the NHL's top teams. The Islanders have allowed a league-low 59 goals this season, and they are 14-0-1 in their past 15 games against Eastern Conference opponents.
The Islanders extended another club's lengthy winless drought on Monday, with a 4-1 win over Detroit that dropped the Red Wings to 0-8-2 over their past 10 contests.
That contest saw Jordan Eberle score his first two goals of the season. After re-signing with New York on a five-year contract over the summer, Eberle has been hampered by a lot of missed chances and a 10-game injury absence.
"If you look at Ebbs' history, he hasn't been a great starter in his career," Islanders coach Barry Trotz told the MSG Network after the Monday game. "I think from a standpoint of him getting hurt and not having a great start traditionally, it sort of put him back. Getting a couple of goals today is great for his confidence, and we know how good of a player he is and how he can help us."
Thomas Greiss is scheduled to start in net for New York on Tuesday. Greiss started the Islanders' 2-0 win over the Blue Jackets on Saturday but left the game after only 14 minutes due to illness.
Carey Price is expected to start for Montreal, looking for a rebound after posting an 0-5-1 and .840 save percentage over his past six games. Price had a 28-save shutout the last time he faced the Islanders, back on March 21, 2019.
Goalie Cayden Primeau and forward Matthew Peca were called up to the Canadiens' roster on Monday. Primeau will replace Keith Kincaid as Price's backup.
The Canadiens announced that defenseman Victor Mete will miss at least the next two weeks of action due to an ankle injury. Mete sustained the injury Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers and didn't play against Boston.
Islanders center Mathew Barzal has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) over his past 11 games.
New York is 3-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
--Field Level Media
Canadiens try to end ugly skid as Isles visit