Habs host Isles in clash between sliding teams

( - The Montreal Canadiens will try to halt their longest losing streak of the season when they host the struggling New York Islanders in Sunday's clash at the Bell Centre.

The Canadiens hadn't lost more than two in a row this season before dropping four straight to begin the month of November. The slide is the longest for the club since an 0-2-2 stretch from March 24-31 of the 2011-12 season.

Montreal hasn't lost five consecutive contests since an 0-5-0 funk from Feb. 19-28, 2012.

The Canadiens fell to 0-3-1 during their current slide after losing a 4-1 decision Thursday night in Ottawa. Bobby Ryan had one goal and two assists to lead the rival Senators to the comfortable home win.

Andrei Markov had the lone goal for the Canadiens, while Carey Price made 20 saves in defeat.

"It's disappointing but at the same time we controlled a lot of that game tonight," Price said. "I think going forward we can build on the way we're playing. We lost two tough games recently and I thought we deserved better."

Montreal hopes a stretch of four home games in five outings can get the club back on track. The Habs, who are 4-4-1 on home ice, begin a two-game homestand tonight and will also host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

The Canadiens are 3-1-2 in the last six meetings against the Islanders, but New York has taken two straight and three of its past four games in Montreal.

The Islanders enter Sunday on a three-game losing streak and also lost winger Thomas Vanek to an injury early in Saturday's 5-2 setback in Columbus.

Vanek left the contest just 23 seconds in after being slashed on his hand and his status for Sunday's game is questionable. Vanek, of course, came over to the Isles late last month in a trade with Buffalo and has started slowly with his new team, posting one goal and two assists in six games.

Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Johansen each collected a goal and two assists for Columbus in its rout of the Islanders on Saturday. The score was tied at 2-2 heading into the third period, but Columbus received three unanswered goals to take control of the game.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 24-of-28 shots in the loss and New York allowed the Blue Jackets to score twice on four chances with the man advantage.

The Islanders fell to 0-3-0 on their current four-game road trip despite goals from Frans Nielsen and Thomas Hickey.

"Our penalty kill let us down again," said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano. "Five-on-five we were right there, we did a lot of good things."

After capping their road trip on Sunday, the Isles will return to Long Island for a three-game homestand. The residency is set to begin Tuesday against Nashville.