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Islanders must find a way to close the deal

MONTREAL - It's no secret that the Islanders lack firepower. But as established by Saturday's game - the third this season in which they have blown a multigoal lead in the third period - they need to harness whatever offensive contributions they do receive and learn to seal the deal.

They need to develop and hone a killer instinct.

"We certainly aren't a dynamic offensive team," coach Scott Gordon said. "It's probably going to happen to us more than we like. It has happened more than we liked. We're not happy about it."

That killer instinct comes from burying your chances, Gordon said, and that has been something the Islanders have had difficulty with, particularly in the third period. The Islanders, 1-0-3 when leading after two periods, have been outshot 104-79 and outscored 16-6 in the third period in their first nine games.

"We don't have that explosiveness that other teams have to mount those comebacks, but we've got to find a way to be a little tighter defensively," Gordon said. "If we can generate those chances, eventually it will hopefully go the other way."

Monday night, the Islanders face Montreal for the second time in less than a week at Bell Centre, the scene of a 5-1 loss Thursday in which they were outplayed, outworked and outclassed in every aspect of the game. "That was our worst performance of the year," Gordon said.

The Islanders will get the chance to avenge that atrocious loss, but they will face a Canadiens team in the midst of a feel-good three-game winning streak after dropping five straight to begin the season 2-5.

Defenseman Mark Streit, who played three seasons for Montreal before signing with the Islanders as a free agent last season, said the team can glean something from its most recent loss and apply it. "We have a young team and there's not a lot of experience," Streit said. "Games like that you've got to learn [from]. We've just got to keep battling, improve our game and finally win games like that."

Notes & quotes: F Doug Weight, who missed the last two games with the flu, did not make the trip to Montreal. It will be the fifth game he has missed in the first 10 games this season.

New York Sports