MONTREAL (AP) — The New York Islanders had all the energy, and they came out with a victory over the listless Montreal Canadiens.
Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for his fourth shutout this season, and Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson scored power-play goals late in the second period as the Islanders won 2-0 on Thursday night.
"We outworked them," the Islanders' Matt Martin said. "They played (Wednesday) night and we were a little fresher than them and we had some young legs in the lineup.
"We tracked hard."
The loss, combined with Tampa Bay's 4-2 win over Philadelphia, hurt the Canadiens' chances of starting the playoffs on home ice. Montreal is second in the Atlantic Division with 98 points and one game left to play, while the Lightning have 97 points with two games remaining.
The Canadiens will need to win their final regular-season game Saturday night at home against the New York Rangers and hope the Lightning lose either Friday night against Columbus or Sunday against Washington.
"You want home ice, you want to go into the playoffs feeling good about your game, and we've got Saturday night to do that," Montreal captain Brian Gionta said.
The Islanders posted their first regulation win in four games, but improved to 7-2-2 in their last 11 games.
The Canadiens, coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Chicago on Wednesday, came out flat and never got their energy up as they were outshot 30-19.
"It's no fun losing at this time, but sometimes, you're just not good enough," said Thomas Vanek, who was traded to Montreal by the Islanders last month. "You have to give them credit, and at the same time, we (stunk). The coaches prepared us and, I don't know if it was tired legs or we were mentally not there or both, but overall they kept skating hard and putting pressure on us and we didn't have a push back."
The Canadiens also got the bad news that second-line forward Alex Galchenyk, who appeared to injure his right knee in Wednesday's 3-2 overtime loss in Chicago, will miss the first round of playoffs with what the team called a lower-body injury.