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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Maple Leafs

The Islanders and Leafs battle for key points in the Eastern Conference playoff race (7 p.m., MSG+2)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders
New York Islanders (22-18-10) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (24-17-9)
7 p.m. Barclays Center - Bobby Nystrom Figurine Night
Radio: AM 970 - The Answer, 88.7FM - WRHU, 103.9FM - LI News

After picking up one of a possible four points over the weekend, the New York Islanders look to get back on track against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night (7 p.m., MSG+). 

The Islanders (54 points) currently sit five points back of the Philadelphia Flyers (59 points) for the second Wild Card seed in the Eastern Conference, but hold three games in hand. That's enough for the Islanders to theoretically leapfrog the Flyers - as well as three other teams - but only if they take advantage of the fewer games played.  

Toronto (57 points) is one of the teams between the Islanders and a playoff spot, though the Leafs can bypass the Wild Card and jump to third in the Atlantic Division with a win on Monday. 

"Every game is huge. These divisional games and conference games at this time of the year every point is important," Ryan Strome said on Saturday. "We are aware of the standings, we know where the Leafs are, we know where we are and it should be a good one on Monday."

Isles Vs. Leafs:

Video: Condensed Game: Maple Leafs @ Islanders

The Islanders defeated the Leafs 5-1 on October 30, scoring three straight third period goals en route to the win. Overall, the Islanders are 4-1-1 in their last six games against the Leafs. 

Young Maple Leafs in the Mix:

The Toronto Maple Leafs rebuild appears to be ahead of schedule. 

After finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season, the Leafs are in the East playoff picture this season. Fifty games in, Toronto is just five wins shy of matching their total from last season (29) and are one point back of the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division. 

Rookies Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are driving the bus in the accelerated Leafs' turnaround. Matthews - the 2016 first-overall pick - leafs the Leafs with 23 goals, while Marner has a team-high 44 points (13G, 31A). Marner brings a three-game point streak (2G, 3A) into Monday's action, while Matthews is coming off a three-assist game against Boston. 

The Leafs ended a three-game losing streak on Saturday winning an important head-to-head matchup with the Bruins.

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