Habs seek longest win streak in 3 years, host Isles

The Montreal Canadiens take aim at their longest winning streak in three years as they play host to the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

The Canadiens picked up their fifth victory in a row on Tuesday, a 3-1 decision over the New York Rangers in a game that saw just eight total shots in the first period before things began to open up a bit.

Rookie Alex Galchenyuk scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period for Montreal, with the third overall pick of the 2012 draft putting home his second career goal. Raphael Diaz sealed things with an empty-net goal and Carey Price came up with 24 saves.

"I think we're just sticking to our system in every game," said Price, who made his first start in three games because of the flu. "Obviously that's been working for us and we're seeing success from that. It's easy to stick with it when you see it works."

Max Pacioretty also tallied, his fifth point in three games for the Habs, who have outscored their opponents 14-5 over the winning streak with a pair of shutouts.

Montreal, which leads the Northeast Division with 23 points, hasn't lost since a 6-0 thumping at home to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 9 and will play two straight at the Bell Centre, where it is a solid 7-3-0 this season.

The Canadiens will try to win six straight for the first time since March 6-16, 2010 and do so against a struggling Islanders club.

New York has dropped seven of its last nine overall and followed up a 7-0 loss on home ice to Philadelphia on Monday with a 3-1 setback in Ottawa the following night.

Evgeni Nabokov gave up all seven goals on 25 shots versus the Flyers, while Rick DiPietro yielded three goals on 26 shots faced in the setback to the Senators.

Travis Hamonic scored the lone goal of the game for the Islanders, who lost despite outshooting the Sens 38-26.

"At this point in a shortened season you need points and you need results," said DiPietro. "But I thought we played a really good game here tonight, and if we keep playing like that we'll get the wins we need."

Thursday marks the first of three meetings this season between the Habs and Islanders, who have won four of the previous six encounters.

Nabokov is likely to start this game for the Islanders and is 5-3-0 in his career versus the Canadiens with a 2.84 goals against average.

Price is 4-1-2 lifetime versus the Isles with a 2.97 GAA.