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Gameday preview: Leafs vs. Islanders

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: New York Islanders (29-23-7-2) at Toronto Maple Leafs (35-22-4-1).

TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

It's been nearly 10 months since the New York Islanders skated off the ice at Air Canada Centre after a crushing loss in Game 7 of the first-round playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

New York makes its first trip back to the scene of its postseason demise when the Islanders visit the Maple Leafs.

In an emotional series that featured an hard hit by Toronto's Darcy Tucker on Michael Peca in Game 5, ending the Islander captain's season, the Maple Leafs emerged with a 4-2 victory in the deciding game on April 30.

The Islanders earned a measure of revenge for the defeat and for Peca in the first meeting between the clubs this season at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 6. New York posted a 4-2 win and Dave Scatchard dropped his gloves and took on Toronto's Shayne Corson after New York had opened a three-goal lead.

Darcy Tucker will be keeping his head up Tuesday night.
Al Bello/Getty Images/NHLI
Tucker was held to just 8:26 of ice time, perhaps in an effort by coach Pat Quinn to avert the retaliation many thought would be coming to the left wing.

"I think the hype was ridiculous and I wish that we had won the game, but unfortunately we didn't," said Tucker afterward.

Toronto had a five-game winning streak snapped with Sunday's 5-2 home loss to Nashville. Alexander Mogilny had a goal and an assist for the Maple Leafs, who have lost just twice in their last 12 games.

Corson was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game, meaning he may not get a chance to get another shot at Scatchard.

The Islanders are riding a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2), including Sunday's 4-4 tie with Boston.

Peca tallied twice for New York, which has lost just one of its last seven to climb within five points of fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

STANDINGS: Islanders - 67 points, 3rd place, 15 PB, Atlantic Division. Maple Leafs - 75 points, 2nd place, 11 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Mark Parrish, 21 goals; Alexei Yashin and Roman Hamrlik, 30 assists; Yashin and Jason Blake, 44 points; Eric Cairns, 112 PIM.

Maple Leafs - Mats Sundin, 28 goals; Mogilny, 41 assists and 66 points; Tie Domi, 117 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 23): Islanders - Power play: 14.4 percent (44 for 305), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.4 percent (262 for 314), 15th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 17.5 percent (49 for 280), 12th. Penalty killing: 87.7 percent (279 for 318), 2nd.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Garth Snow (10-10-3, 1 SO, 2.21 GAA); Stephen Valiquette (no record). Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (29-16-3, 6, 2.16); Trevor Kidd (5-6-1, 3.27).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 6; Islanders, 4-2. At New York, Arron Asham scored twice and Brad Isbister added a goal and two assists for the Islanders.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 12-10-4-2 on the road; Maple Leafs - 19-11-2-0 at home.
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