NEW YORK -- A pair of teams looking to carry their recent momentum into the All-Star Break square off Thursday night when the New York Islanders host the Montreal Canadiens at Barclays Center.
The Islanders (20-17-9) won for the fourth time in five games Tuesday, when four players scored in a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canadiens (29-13-7) also won Tuesday, when they extended their points streak to three games by knocking off the Calgary Flames 5-1.
The win over the Blue Jackets began a three-game stretch in which the Islanders face the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. New York, which hosts the Washington Capitals in the first game back from the All-Star Break on Tuesday, is trying to get back into the wild card race after spending most of the season mired in last place in the East.
Interim coach Doug Weight, who is 3-0-1 at the helm since taking over for the fired Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, said he sensed renewed energy from the Islanders during Tuesday's victory.
"I felt like we were a very confident team today," Weight said. "Even when (the Blue Jackets) scored early (in the first), I felt like we were doing the right thing. Montreal, Washington -- challenge is going to get bigger and bigger as we go here. We just played one of the best three teams that has been in the league in the first half of the season and we did a pretty good job. So we're confident. It's about what we do. We're going to go back to work (Wednesday) and get ready for Thursday."
The Canadiens head to Brooklyn with plenty of confidence as well after outscoring the opposition 10-5 over the last three games.
"We like the way we're heading," Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty told the team's official website following Wednesday's practice. "We like the way we're going and we've just got to keep at it. Obviously there are going to be some long stretches -- and this is one of them -- so we've just got to bear down."
The Canadiens' top goalie, Casey Price, is expected to oppose the Islanders' no. 1 netminder, Thomas Greiss. Price ranks seventh in the NHL in victories, though he hasn't won consecutive starts since Dec. 17-20.
Greiss allowed only five goals on 125 shots in his last four starts dating back to Jan. 16 and earned NHL second star honors last week, when he posted back-to-back shutouts of the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars.
This will be the second of three meetings this season. The clubs play in Montreal on Feb. 23. Montreal earned a 3-2 victory at Barclays Center on Oct. 26.