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Match Preview: Maple Leafs vs. Islanders

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


TEAM UPDATES

Jonathan Bernier gets the crease for the Leafs tonight as Toronto looks to rebound from a tough loss on Saturday night to the St. Louis Blues. Nazem Kadri will be a healthy scratch after arriving late to the team's practice on Sunday. He is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. Zach Sill will play centre in his place.

The Leafs and Islanders have played high energy affairs to this point with each team taking a victory. This will be the first matchup between the two in Toronto.

"I'm a big fan of Tavares and what he brings to the table," said Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek. "They [the Islanders] roll their D, they all get involved, they move the puck very well, they have grit in their lineup. They made believers out of everybody around."

Michal Neuvirth will get the start in goal for the Isles while deadline acquisition Tyler Kennedy will make his debut.

RECENT RESULTS

The Leafs are coming off of a 6-1 loss on Saturday night to the St. Louis Blues, which brought their record in the last 10 games to 3-6-1.

Toronto is 18-14-0 at home this season.

The Isles have struggled of late, dropping three of their last four games. On Sunday they lost to the Panthers by a 4-3 score in Sunrise by way of the shootout. They are 5-2-3 in their last 10.

The Islanders are 19-12-4 on the road this season.

LAST MEETING

The Islanders edged the Leafs thanks to a strong first period effort at Nassau Coliseum in the final matchup between the two at the storied rink. Anders Lee scored a pair to pace the Isles while Jaroslav Halak was strong in goal to earn the win. Jonathan Bernier took the loss for the Leafs.

The Leafs and Islanders have split the season series to-date with each winning a game on Long Island.

ONE TO WATCH

Ryan Strome

The 21-year-old Mississauga, Ont., native will take on his former team tonight in the midst of a solid sophomore season for the Islanders. He is second on his team in scoring behind John Tavares with 42 points and has been a big contributor to the Isles' potent depth.

Strome has been a massive possession booster for the Islanders despite playing relatively limited ice time behind the team's primary unit. The Isles have also had the majority of scoring chances with him on the ice.

He possesses strong offensive instincts, speed and hands to create openings for linemates. He also plays with an edge down low and on the forecheck which makes him a tough matchup for defenders. Look for his line to cause havoc in all three zones.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Islanders...

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 81 Kessel

19 Lupul - 24 Holland - 20 Booth

47 Komarov - 23 Smith - 18 Panik

15 Lindstrom - 22 Sill - 67 Kozun

Defence

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf

44 Rielly - 8 Granberg

33 Erixon - 2 Brewer

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

34 Reimer

New York Islanders

Forwards

27 Lee - 91 Tavares - 12 Bailey

86 Kulemin - 51 Nielsen - 18 Strome

40 Grabner - 29 Nelson - 26 Kennedy

17 Martin - 53 Cizikas - 15 Clutterbuck

Defence

2 Leddy - 55 Boychuk

44 De Haan - 3 Hamonic

14 Hickey - 11 Visnovsky

Goaltenders

30 Neuvirth

41 Halak

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