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Game Preview: New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders

New York Islanders

15-22-7 (37 points – 8th in Metropolitan Division, 15th in Eastern Conference)
8-13-0 road
Toronto Maple Leafs
21-17-5 (47 points - 5th in Atlantic Division, 6th in Eastern Conference)
14-9-1 home
7:00 p.m.
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, ON
Television: MSG PLUS
Play-by-play: Howie Rose; Color: Butch Goring

Radio: WHRU 88.7 FM, LI News 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King; Color: Greg Picker
2013-14 season series (0-1-0)

The Islanders dropped the first of three games against the Maple Leafs, 5-2, at Air Canada Centre, ending a streak of three straight wins in Toronto. Casey Cizikas and Frans Nielsen scored for the Islanders, but Phil Kessel (two goals), Joffrey Lupul (three assists) and Trevor Smith (one goal, two assists) had big nights for the Leafs. Mason Raymond’s third-period goal held up as the eventual winner. Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek did not play in the series opener.

Maple Leafs player to watch
Phil Kessel - Forward

Phil Kessel is one of the games’ best sharpshooters, having scored 30 or more goals in the last four full seasons. The American sniper has 20 goals in 43 games this season and is on pace to reach 30 for a fifth time. Kessel has great speed and acceleration to go with his shot and was a point-per-game player in the last two seasons. Phil the Thrill had two goals against the Isles in November and has five points (three goals, two assists) in his last four games. 

Islanders Storylines
Special Teams: The Islanders power play has scored eight times in the last four games. The Leafs have a top-5 PP and converted against the Islanders Nov. 19.
Nabokov: Evgeni Nabokov left Monday’s game with a lower-body injury and did not return. Anders Nilsson was called up on an emergency basis after the game.
Johnny Rocket: John Tavares scored a hat trick and added two assists in Monday’s win. Tavares has 13 points in his last six games and scored at least four points twice in that span.
Vanek: Thomas Vanek is riding a career-best nine-game point streak (5-9-14).
Firsts: Ryan Strome (first goal) and Calvin de Haan (first points) reach NHL milestones Monday. 
The Matchup
18.8% (13th)
73.7% (30th)

Power play
Penalty kill
Goals for
Goals against
Last 10

Maple Leafs
21.8 (5th)
77.8% (27th)

New York Islanders previous game lines
26 Thomas Vanek - 91 John Tavares - 29 Brock Nelson
16 Peter Regin - 51 Frans Nielsen - 12 Josh Bailey
40 Michael Grabner
- 18 Ryan Strome - 15 Cal Clutterbuck
17 Matt Martin - 53 Casey Cizikas - 13 Colin McDonald

37 Brian Strait  - 47 Andrew MacDonald
46 Matt Donovan -
14 Thomas Hickey
44 Calvin de Haan - 3 Travis Hamonic

20 Evgeni Nabokov
60 Kevin Poulin
Toronto Maple Leafs previous game lines
21 James van Riemsdyk - 42 Tyler Bozak - 81 Phil Kessel
12 Mason Raymond - 43 Nazem Kadri - 19 Joffrey Lupul
29 Jerry D'Amigo - 11 Jay McClement - 41 Nikolai Kulemin
38 Frazer McLaren - 24 Peter Holland - 28 Colton Orr

8 Tim Gleason - 3 Dion Phaneuf
4 Cody Franson - 51 Jake Gardiner
44 Morgan Rielly - 15 Paul Ranger

34 James Reimer
45 Jonathan Bernier

Quote of the Day:

Ryan Strome on captain John Tavares:
“He’s unbelievable. He puts the team on his back. In the third period you saw how good he wanted to be. He wanted that hat trick. If I can learn one thing of the 100 things he does, it’ll make me successful.”

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