The Montreal Canadiens have suffered just one regulation loss over their last 18 games. They'll visit the one club to best them in 60 minutes over that span on Thursday night when they take on the New York Islanders.
The surging Canadiens have gone 13-1-4 since a 6-0 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 9. They followed up that setback with five straight wins, a run that came to an end with an overtime loss at home to the Islanders on Feb. 21.
Montreal carried another five-game winning streak into Tuesday's encounter with the Buffalo Sabres, but failed to win six straight for the first time since 2010 due to a 3-2 overtime setback. However, the club battled back for the point, rallying from two down to force the extra period thanks to third- period goals from Max Pacioretty and Colby Armstrong.
However, Steve Ott gained the extra point for the Sabres with a power-play goal as Montreal's P.K. Subban took a hi-stick penalty 17 seconds into overtime.
"We battled back, and it's actually good character to battle back and send it into overtime," said Armstrong.
Carey Price finished with 18 saves for the Canadiens, who are two points in front of the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast Division.
The Habs are 0-1-2 on their last three versus the Islanders and suffered a 6-3 loss in New York in the most recent encounter on March 5. Michael Ryder had three assists, while Subban and Brian Gionta put home power-play goals.
Radek Martinek potted the tie-breaking goal for the Islanders in the third, giving them their sixth victory in their past eight versus the Canadiens. New York has also won four of the past six at home in this series.
The Isles will try to sweep the three-game season set and rebound from a disappointing 5-3 loss to the visiting Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
Josh Bailey, Keith Aucoin and Lubomir Visnovsky scored to give New York a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but the Sens tallied four goals over the final 20 minutes. The Islanders yielded the tying goal with a minute to play and the scoring was capped with an empty-netter.
"We can't give up a goal with a minute left," said winger Kyle Okposo, who had a pair of assists. "We needed that one and that one hurts."
Evgeni Nabokov stopped just 18 shots in defeat, which came in the opener of a four-game homestand. The Islanders had won five of seven overall coming in and with 29 points are three points back of three teams for a playoff spot.
Habs defenseman Francis Bouillon signed a one-year contract extension on Wednesday. The 37-year-old has a goal and six assists in 29 games this season.