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At the Rink blog

Leafs try to bounce back vs. Islanders

Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 5:40 PM

By Neil Acharya - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Leafs try to bounce back vs. Islanders
TORONTO -- Less than 24 hours after an 8-0 loss at Boston completed the Bruins' sweep of the six-game season series against Toronto, the Maple Leafs have the opportunity to sweep a series of their own tonight against the New York Islanders.

"Just from last night, I think it's huge to get a bounce back here," defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said. "It's always good to get back home after being on the road for 10 days. In all ways for everyone, I think it's good to be back home again."

The Maple Leafs finished their five-game road trip with 2-3-0 record.

Despite the fact that they have beaten the Islanders on three occasions this season by a combined score of 12-6 and can go a perfect 4-0 on the season against a conference foe, Gunnarsson and his mates are still focusing on the bigger picture.

"Looking at the standings, it doesn't matter what team we play, what we've done before against that team, we just want to win every game," he said. "If we sweep the Islanders and not make the playoffs, it doesn't mean anything."

The Maple Leafs are eight points out of eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race with nine games remaining. Despite the almost insurmountable task, defenseman John Michael-Liles feels that the only way for the club to look is forward.

"Unfortunately games like that are going to happen and you move on from it. (We have to )go into every game and try and get two points, that's all we can focus on is going out and try and win every game and giving ourselves the best opportunity to get two points each and every night."

Liles and Gunnarsson ended up with a combined minus-5 rating in Boston. They were hardly alone in that department -- only three Leafs finished without a minus rating. Jay Rosehill and Colby Armstrong both ended up even at TD Garden, as did Matthew Lombardi who will play in his 500th career game tonight.

Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness