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Leafs go for home-and-home sweep of Isles

by Brian Compton
MAPLE LEAFS (24-19-5) at ISLANDERS (19-22-6)


Last 10: Toronto 6-4-0; New York 5-5-0.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams and the conclusion of a home-and-home series. Toronto has won the first two showdowns, including Monday night's 3-0 victory at the Air Canada Centre.

Big Story: The streak is over.

Isles center John Tavares was unable to extend his League-high, 12-game point streak Monday night, as he and his teammates were shut out in Toronto. Tavares, who will participate in the All-Star  Game this weekend, had 8 goals and 13 assists during the impressive stretch.

"Really it doesn't matter a whole lot … what I try to do is contribute offensively and we didn't get the win tonight, so that's what matters the most and what I'm most worried about," Tavares said after Monday's loss. "It's over. I'll just move on and get ready to play tomorrow."

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs: He wasn't exactly bombarded Monday night, but Jonas Gustavsson stood tall when he had to for Toronto on Monday night. Gustavsson faced only 11 shots through the first two periods, but he was forced to make 14 saves in the third to earn his third shutout of the season.

Matthew Lombardi scored twice for the Leafs, who are now tied with the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference at 53 points apiece.

"I didn't see a lot of shots in the first two periods," said Gustavsson, who improved to 6-3 this month. "(We worked really hard), especially on the back-check. We didn't get those odd man rushes that they wanted. The guys helped me a lot. I saw all the shots, and if not, they blocked it and got the puck out of our zone." 

Islanders: Despite Monday's loss, New York is doing its best to remain in the playoff race. The Isles can move back to within seven points of the Maple Leafs in the conference standings with a regulation win Tuesday night, but they'll need to attack the Leafs' end more effectively than they did Monday if they're going to come away with a victory.

"The things we tried weren't working," Tavares said. "We didn't really get many opportunities until the third and even then, we couldn't really find a way to get some good quality chances. We didn't execute the way we wanted to and it was really tough for us to try to get back in the game and gain some momentum. Obviously, we didn't do enough to even draw a penalty."

Who's Hot: Joffrey Lupul has a goal and 4 assists in his last four games for Toronto. … Besides Tavares, winger PA Parenteau has 2 goals and 5 assists over his last six contests and Kyle Okposo has 11 points in his last 13.

Injury Report: Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles and winger Colby Armstrong, who are both suffering from concussions, did not play Monday night but are close to returning. Darryl Boyce is day-to-day with a back injury. … New York will be without Rick DiPietro (sports hernia, knee swelling), Mike Mottau (concussion) and Marty Reasoner (hand).

Stat Pack: Toronto will play its next two games on the road after playing nine of the previous 10 at the Air Canada Centre. … The Islanders are 14-for-14 on the penalty kill over their last six games.

Puck Drop: "You just see it ... that's the sense you have, the gut feeling as a coach. I could see that coming and that's a real positive as we go forward that I have a weapon there, and he's feeling real good about himself." -- Leafs coach Ron Wilson on Matthew Lombardi
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