(SportsNetwork.com) - Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens take aim at a much-needed rebound effort on Saturday evening when they visit the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens have lost five of their past six games, with Thursday's 5-2 setback to the Ottawa Senators allowing the Tampa Bay Lightning to pull into a tie with Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division. Both clubs have 91 points, though the Canadiens do have a game in hand and the Lightning also are in action tonight as they host the Winnipeg Jets.
Hart Trophy contender Carey Price lost for the fourth time in five starts as he gave up five goals on 28 shots in Thursday's loss. The five goals yielded matched a season high and marked the first time Price allowed that many since Nov. 4 at the Chicago Blackhawks.
Montreal yielded five unanswered goals to Ottawa after a pair of first-period tallies by Max Pacioretty -- one on the power play and another shorthanded -- staked the club to an early 2-0 lead.
"I think we had some opportunities to put the game away," Habs defenseman P.K. Subban said. "When you're up 2-0 you want to get that third goal to really put the dagger in, but we didn't get it."
Pacioretty is among the league leaders with a team-high 33 goals.
Price will get a chance to rebound tonight and is 8-3-3 with a 2.62 goals against average and .906 save percentage in 14 meetings with the Islanders in his career.
The Canadiens have won the first two of three meetings with the Islanders this season and five of the past six overall. They also have won three in a row on Long Island.
The Islanders saw recent struggles extended on Friday night with a 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators, who got 34 saves from Andrew Hammond. The setback dropped New York to 2-3-2 over its past seven games and it remained a point behind the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division, but with four more games played.
The Rangers are in action on Saturday, visiting the Buffalo Sabres.
Tyler Kennedy got the Islanders on the board last night with 8:01 to play and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in the loss.
"I thought (our play) was better than the last game. We just got to put (the puck) in the net," said Islanders captain John Tavares, whose club was coming off a 2-1 setback to the Rangers on Tuesday.
Michal Neuvirth could get the start tonight for the Isles, which would be his third since being acquired from the Sabres. He is 5-3-1 in his career against the Canadiens with a 2.10 GAA and .928 save percentage in 10 games.