Back behind the bench, coaching the New York Islanders, Patrick Roy leads his new team into the place where he became an NHL superstar.
Roy’s Islanders look to snap a season-high five-game road slide in an effort to hand the Montreal Canadiens their fourth consecutive defeat Thursday.
The Islanders snapped an 0-3-1 skid with a 3-2 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Sunday in Roy’s first game replacing the fired Lane Lambert. New York followed by falling short in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Sometimes the hockey gods are not on your side, and (Tuesday) that was the case,” said Roy, whose team put a season-high 42 shots on net against the Golden Knights and got within a goal early in the third period.
“Sometimes you don’t necessarily get rewarded for what you do.”
Though the Islanders have been held to fewer than three goals six times in the past nine games, Roy likes the effort he is seeing from his new club.
“There’s been a progression for our guys,” said Roy, who went 130-92-24 and made one playoff appearance while coaching the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-16.
“If we keep progressing like this, we’ll win a lot of games.”
Roy won a lot of games as a member of the Canadiens for the first 11-plus seasons of his Hall of Fame playing career. That tenure included two Stanley Cup triumphs and three Vezina Trophy nods. It seems fitting his first road game in charge of the Islanders will be at Montreal.
New York has been outscored 21-8 during its 0-4-1 road rut, and allowed four second-period goals en route to a 5-3 loss at Montreal on Dec. 16. However, the Canadiens have been outscored 19-7 during their current three-game losing streak.
Tuesday’s 4-1 home loss to Ottawa marked the second time in three games the Canadiens fell to the Senators.
“We’re definitely a positive group, try not to get too down,” said Montreal captain Nick Suzuki, who has five assists in the past six games.
“When you get negative it brings everything else down. So, you just want to stay positive and grind through this together. It’s definitely going to make us stronger coming out of it.”
Suzuki had two assists against the Islanders last month, while teammate Josh Anderson scored twice, and young Canadiens star Cole Caufield notched one of his team-leading 16 goals. Caufield has recorded five goals with four assists in the past seven games.
Jake Allen (3.46 goals-against average) stopped 24 shots Tuesday while getting his turn amid the Canadiens’ three goaltender rotation.
Montreal teammate Sam Montembeault (3.11 GAA) allowed eight goals on 30 shots during Saturday’s 9-4 loss at Boston but made 30 saves in the Dec. 16 win against the Islanders.
Ilya Sorokin (3.17 GAA) has made 10 straight starts for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov (2.78 GAA) could return to action for the first time since he came away with a lower-body injury Jan. 2 against Colorado. Varlamov made 36 saves at Montreal last month.
With his team-leading 21st goal Tuesday, New York’s Brock Nelson recorded career point No. 500. He has three points in three games, and 12 goals with three assists in his last eight versus Montreal.
– Field Level Media
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