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10-23-2003, 08:11 AM
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No Koivu heres the story..


MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The New York Islanders try to extend their unbeaten streak to five games Thursday night as they visit the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs were hoping to have captain Saku Koivu back in the lineup, but he's not ready.

After practicing yesterday, Koivu announced that he was fit to return to action. This morning, however, Koivu told the Canadiens' training staff that he had felt a twinge in his knee during Wednesday's skate, and the team has opted to suspend his return to active duty.

``It's frustrating, no doubt about it, you want to play,'' Koivu said after Thursday's pre-game skate. ``The team is winning and you want to be part of it but you can't go out there is don't feel 100 per cent.''

Instead of playing tonight between Steve Begin and Jason Ward, Koivu will miss his seventh game.

The Canadiens have played well since a 5-2 loss at Ottawa in their season-opener. They are 4-1-0 in their last five games and have outscored opponents, 15-4.

Montreal rebounded from its first home loss of the season with Monday's 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, which improved its home record to 3-1-0. In 2002-03, the Canadiens did not record their third home victory until November 9.

Mathieu Garon got the start Monday and made 18 saves, while Begin and Richard Zednik scored. Garon was making his first start of the season and starter Jose Theodore is expected to get the call Thursday.
Theodore, who was 20-31-6 in 2002-03, is 3-2-0 with a 1.61 goals-against average.

New York has not lost since a season-opening 6-1 setback at Washington on October 9. The Islanders are 3-0-1 in that span and have outscored foes, 15-5.

On Monday, the Isles kept their streak alive with a 5-2 home victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Former Canadien Mariusz Czerkawski scored twice while Oleg Kvasha, captain Mike Peca and Jason Blake also tallied.

Czerkawski was re-acquired by the Islanders in the offseason after he scored just five goals in 43 games with Montreal in 2002-03. In his second stint with New York, he has matched that total while playing on a line with Kvasha and Alexei Yashin.
New York was 3-1-0 against the Canadiens last season. The Islanders won the final three meetings, including a 6-3 victory here March 20 when Yashin scored twice and collected three assists.

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