Isles hope to extend surge vs. Canadiens

( - The New York Islanders hope to carry their winning streak into the Christmas break, as they shoot for a fifth straight victory in Tuesday's home battle against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Islanders, who are sitting second in the Metropolitan Division, have won four straight overall and three in a row on home ice. New York can match its longest win streak of the season with another victory tonight before getting three days of rest for the upcoming holiday.

After tonight, the Isles won't play again until visiting the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

New York is coming off Saturday's 3-1 win over visiting Tampa Bay. The victory was the Isles' 10th in 11 home games and pushed the club's record at Nassau Coliseum this season to 13-3-0.

The Islanders scored a pair of goals in a 12-second span late in the third period to overtake the Lightning. John Tavares whistled a wrister from the slot past Andrei Vasilevskiy with 3:09 remaining to tie the game at 1-1. Travis Hamonic then put a wrister on net from the right point, which was re- directed by Anders Lee into the top left corner to put the Islanders in front.

"We knew what we were doing with the control of the game," Lee said. "We were playing the way we wanted."

Nikolay Kulemin added an empty-net goal for New York, which outshot Tampa Bay 48-21. Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for the win.

The Canadiens, who enter today tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the Atlantic Division, won four times on their recent five-game homestand and they hope to keep up the pace in Tuesday's road test.

However, Montreal has done most of its damage this season at home, where it is 13-4-1 compared to an 8-7-1 mark as the guest. The Canadiens enter tonight having lost three straight and five of their last six road tilts.

After having a three-game win streak snapped on Thursday with a 2-1 loss to Anaheim, the Habs rebounded with Saturday's 4-1 triumph against Ottawa. Montreal scored four unanswered goals to beat the visiting Senators, who grabbed a 1-0 lead early in the first on a short-handed tally.

Brandon Prust and Brendan Gallagher scored in the first and second periods, respectively, and Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk scored third-period markers to put the game away.

"We may hit a few bumps along the way, but we're working hard and we try to go out there and have fun," Galchenyuk said of his line.

Carey Price settled in to make 24 saves after allowing a goal to Erik Condra just 2:50 into the game.

Tonight's test marks the start of a five-game road trip for the Habs, who will continue the swing Monday at Carolina.

The Habs and Isles are meeting for the first of three scheduled encounters in 2014-15. Montreal took two of three from New York last season, but the Isles are 4-2-1 in the last seven encounters.

The Canadiens have won two straight and three of their last four at Nassau Coliseum.