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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Maple Leafs

by Sarah Holzberg / New York Islanders

New York Islanders

22-30-8 (52 points – 8th in Metropolitan Division, 14th in Eastern Conference)
8-14-8 home
Toronto Maple Leafs
32-22-6 (70 points - 4th in Atlantic Division, 5th in Eastern Conference)
11-12-5 road
7:00  p.m.
Nassau Coliseum
Uniondale, NY

Television: MSG PLUS
Howie Rose; Color: Butch Goring

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
Islanders Storylines
Tavares Injured: Captain John Tavares suffered an MCL tear in Sochi and is out for the rest of the Islanders' season. He does not require surgery and his rehab is expected to take eight-to-12 weeks. 
Nielsen/Martin Hurt: Frans Nielsen was placed on injured reserve (hand), retroactive to Feb. 8, while Matt Martin is out with a lower-body injury.
Call-ups: Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and Mike Halmo were called up on emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Okposo: Kyle Okposo is eighth in league scoring with with 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists).
Leafs Storylines
• Phil the Thrill:
Phil Kessel leads the Leafs in goals (31), assists (34) and points (65).
• Supporting Scorers:
James van Reimsdyk is second in team scoring with 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) and Tyler Bozak has 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 36 games this season.
• Shots Against:
The Leafs are allowing a league-high 36.2 shots per game. The Islanders have taken 62 shots in their two games against the Leafs this season.
• Special Teams:
The Leafs have allowed a league high 44 power-play goals, but have the NHL's second-best power play, converting at 22.2%.
Islanders player to watch
Michael Grabner - Forward

Michael Grabner was one of the breakout stars of the Sochi Games, tying Phil Kessel with a tournament-high five goals, despite playing two fewer games. The Isles’ Austrian winger finished fifth in Olympic scoring with six points, again despite playing at least one fewer game than the next 25 scoring leaders. Grabner hopes his hot hands will carry over to the NHL in the Isles' stretch drive.
Leafs player to watch
Phil Kessel - Forward

Phil Kessel is coming off of a dynamite Olympic performance, where he was named the top forward of the tournament. Kessel’s five goals and eight points were both tied for tournament highs, despite not scoring in Team USA's final two games. The Leafs winger is currently ranked fourth in NHL scoring with 65 points (31 goals, 34 assists) and second in the league in goals. Kessel has points in 13-of-15 games and has 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) over that span.
2013-14 season series (1-1-0)

The Islanders and Maple Leafs have split their season series 1-1-0, with both games taking place in Toronto. In the most recent outing, the Isles beat the Leafs 5-3. Captain John Tavares had three assists and Calvin de Haan’s first-career NHL goal held up as the game winner. Frans Nielsen broke a 2-2 tie in the third period, while Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo and Cal Clutterbuck lit the lamp for the Islanders. 

The Matchup
16.6% (21st)
77.6% (29th)

Power play
Penalty kill
Goals for
Goals against
Last 10

Maple Leafs
22.2% (2nd)
78.0% (28th)
New York Islanders projected game lines
26 Thomas Vanek –
29 Brock Nelson – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner 12 Josh Bailey15 Cal Clutterbuck
27 Anders Lee
18 Ryan Strome13 Colin McDonald
36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas – 43 Mike Halmo


44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
37 Brian Strait 47 Andrew MacDonald 

20 Evgeni Nabokov
60 Kevin Poulin
Toronto Maple Leafs previous game lines
21 James van Riemsdyk – 42 Tyler Bozak – 81 Phil Kessel
19 Joffrey Lupul – 43 Nazem Kadri – 71 David Clarkson
40 Troy Bodie – 41 Nikolai Kulemin – 12 Mason Raymond
38 Frazer McLaren – 11 Jay McClement – 15 Paul Ranger

36 Carl Gunnarsson – 3 Dion Phaneuf
4 Cody Franson – 51 Jake Gardiner
8 Tim Gleason – 44 Morgan Rielly

45 Jonathan Bernier
34 James Reimer
What's Happening at the Coliseum:
Lower Lobby @ 5pm
Doors Open @ 5:45pm
Charity of Game: Brain Tumor Society
Mercedes Benz CAP (chuck a puck)
Islanders St. Patrick’s Jersey Auction
MSG+ Islander Hat Giveaway
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