The Canadiens lost two of three to begin the season, but have since rattled off wins in four out of five games. The Habs posted a 3-0 decision in Ottawa on Saturday and then notched an overtime win against visiting Phoenix on Monday.
Carey Price was in net for both victories and Montreal's No. 1 netminder is off to an excellent start to the season. The 23-year-old is 5-2-1 with a .918 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average. Price has been playing so well that backup netminder Alex Auld has yet to see any action this season.
Price made 27 saves in Saturday's win over Phoenix and Andrei Kostitsyn provided the overtime heroics, scoring 1:25 into the extra session to give the Habs a 3-2 victory. After some good offensive pressure, Lars Eller's shot was turned aside by Ilya Bryzgalov, but Kostitsyn put home the rebound from in close on the left side to give Montreal the win.
Mike Cammalleri added a goal and an assist, while Tomas Plekanec also tallied for the Canadiens, who have won seven straight over Phoenix and improved to 9-0 with three ties since their last loss in this series on December 9, 1998 on the road.
"He's playing great so far," Plekanec said about Kostitsyn, who added an assist in regulation "You can see the difference in our line. He makes things happen. We are expecting a lot of good things from him and that's what we need."
The Canadiens could be receiving more good news in the near future as top defenseman Andrei Markov is nearing his return from offseason knee surgery. Markov, who hasn't played since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Pittsburgh last spring, could make his season debut this weekend.
The Islanders will try to get back in the win column tonight after having a three-game win streak halted Saturday in Florida. Radek Dvorak netted the go- ahead goal with 6:32 left in the third period, and the Panthers held on for a 4-3 win at BankAtlantic Center.
John Tavares, the first overall pick in the 2009 draft, notched his first career hat trick for the Islanders. However, Florida got the victory thanks to Dvorak's score and goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who made 30 saves. Rick DiPietro turned aside 26 shots for the Islanders.
"It's one thing to say you believe you're a good team, but it's another to believe that you're a really good team," said DiPietro. "We didn't come out tonight with our best game."
The Isles have played their last two games without forward Josh Bailey, who had three goals and six points before suffering a hip flexor last week against Toronto. Forwards Michael Grabner (groin) and Trent Hunter (foot) are questionable for tonight after getting injured in the loss to Florida.
The Canadiens won three of four against the Islanders last year and the Habs have taken 10 of 13 overall in the series. New York has dropped two straight and five out of seven in Montreal.