Here are four things to know:
Habs host surging Islanders
After winning nine of 10 games, the Canadiens (27-13-3) are in the midst of a 1-2-1 stretch as they set to host the surging New York Islanders. Montreal’s latest setback came on Thursday night, falling 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators.
Max Pacioretty provided the Canadiens with their only offence, scoring for the sixth straight game. Should he score against the Islanders Saturday night, Pacioretty would become the first Canadiens player to notch a goal in seven consecutive contests since Denis Savard's nine-game run from Feb. 7-March 1, 1991.
However, the team is dealing with an injury to goalie Carey Price. The Habs netminder sat against the Senators with an upper-body injury and could be forced to miss the game versus New York. Joey MacDonald was called up from Hamilton of the AHL on Friday, likely to back up Dustin Tokarski.
There is no question the Islanders (30-13-1) are for real this season. They drove that point home during the last two games, beating East contenders New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders were especially impressive against the Penguins Friday night, erasing a 2-0 deficit on the strength of four goals by Kyle Okposo en route to a 6-3 win. Okposo's linemates, John Tavares and Josh Bailey, each had three assists, giving the top line a 10-point night.
Can Leafs find scoring touch?
Can the Leafs muster enough offence to break through what’s been a lousy road trip? Toronto (22-20-3) began the four-game swing with back-to-back shutout defeats to Los Angeles and Anaheim, and then dropped a 3-1 contest to San Jose on Thursday.
Toronto sniper Phil Kessel continues to struggle with his goal output. Though Kessel is tied with James van Riemsdyk for the team lead with 19 goals, the Leafs winger has only managed two goals in his last 14 games. He's been held pointless over the last five on the road.
"We have to find a way to score, we have to figure it out," he said.
The Blues (27-13-4) are second in the NHL with 3.1 goals per game, but are looking to avoid their first consecutive losses at home. The Blues lost a tough 3-2 overtime game to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, which stopped St. Louis' five-game winning streak.
The Blues are 15-2-2 in their last 19 on home ice, tied for the NHL's most home wins since Oct. 25.
Flames red-hot on the road
The Flames (23-18-3) will look for their first four-game road winning streak since winning six in 2009. Calgary, which will see its five-game road stretch lead into the all-star break, face a tough San Jose team (24-16-5), which beat the Flames 3-2 at the Scotiabank Saddledome more than a week ago.
The Flames have lost seven of nine in San Jose, but won 2-0 on Nov. 26 in the season's first game.
One interesting note: Calgary will try to become the first team in 25 years to go three consecutive games without taking a penalty.
Anderson key to Sens
Goaltender Craig Anderson might be just the man to get the Senators (18-17-8) back into the thick of things in the East. Of course, consistency needs to be a big part of that equation. On Thursday, Anderson had an impressive 4-1 victory over the Canadiens, making 25 saves.
After a strong start, the Senators haven’t won back-to-back games in more than two months. They are 5-5-2 at Canadian Tire Centre since a 4-0-2 start.
The odds of winning consecutive home games appear to be in the Senators’ favour as they square off against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Metropolitan Division cellar dwellers.
Still, the Senators shouldn’t take the Hurricanes (14-25-5) for granted. Carolina won two of three games from Ottawa last season, and have taken six of the last eight games from Ottawa.
The Edmonton Oilers (10-26-9), the NHL’s last-place team, are also in action Saturday night. The Oilers, losers of their last three games, take on the Florida Panthers (20-13-9).
A loss to the Panthers would extend the Oilers’ franchise-worst road losing streak to 15 games.Suggest a correction