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Montreal Canadiens Home Games
On Jan. 26, the Montreal Canadiens floundered in their offensive strategies as the New York Islanders claimed an unexpected 3-1 victory at the Barclays Center. As a result of the win, the Islanders extended their point streak to six games. Conversely, the game once again demonstrated that Montreal’s finest remain in a precarious situation, as the Montreal Canadiens have not claimed consecutive victories since they began the new year with a three-game streak.
Before the puck hit the ice, it was announced that the Canadiens had acquired defenseman Nikita Nesterov from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for prospect Jonathan Racine and a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. As such, this minor but abrupt trade fueled heated hockey discussions long before the members of the team stepped foot into the New York venue.
When the game eventually commenced, one thing became clear; it was alternative captain Andrew Ladd’s time to shine. In the past, Ladd has been one of the most underestimated yet formidable players in the league. However, Ladd has recently been suffering from consistently underwhelming performances. Case in point; Ladd had gone six consecutive games without scoring a goal before the Habs arrived in New York.
Fortunately, this all changed on Thursday night, when the alternative captain proved that he is a veritable saving grace for the Islanders.
At 13:07 in the first period, Ladd scored with a wrist shot from the right circle. In the second period, Habs alternative captain Shea Weber took advantage of a hookup penalty from Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to tie the game up with a slap shot at 14:09. Interestingly, this marked Weber’s twelfth goal of the season. Then, with 12:40 remaining in the third, the Islanders were once again in the lead thanks to Ladd, who scored his tenth goal of the season. Moments later, Islanders winger Josh Bailey sealed the fate of the game by unleashing a slap shot from the slot during a power play, thus making the final score 3-1 for the Islanders. At last count, Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss made 21 saves, and Carey Price delivered a characteristically outstanding performance with 39 saves.
In the next few games, the Montreal Canadiens will need to improve their struggling offensive line in order to retain their position atop the Atlantic Division. On Jan. 31, the Habs will welcome the Buffalo Sabres to the Bell Centre. On Feb. 1, the team will travel to the Wells Fargo Center to take on the Philadelphia Flyers. Finally, the Habs will go head-to-head against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre on Feb. 4.