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Leafs look for No. 5 against Isles

by Brian Compton
ISLANDERS (2-1-2) at MAPLE LEAFS (4-0-0)

TV:  MSG-Plus; Leafs TV.

Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. The Islanders beat the Leafs three times last season, which included a 58-save performance by Dwayne Roloson in a 4-3 overtime win at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 23, 2009.

Big Story: Two teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010 have been two of the best teams in the League in the early going this season. The Isles enter Monday's action in a first-place tie in the Atlantic Division, while the Leafs have stormed out of the gate with four straight victories.

"If everybody keeps playing their roles, we're going to be a tough team to play against," New York center John Tavares said. "We're really going to make it tough on other teams -- from our first line to our fourth line."

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York is without arguably its two best players (Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo), but that hasn't stopped the Isles from earning points in four of their first five games. They moved into a first-place tie in the Atlantic with Pittsburgh on Saturday night with a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"Part of it is maturing with our younger forwards and the experience on our defense," Isles coach Scott Gordon said. "You have bigger guys like Mark Eaton and Milan Jurcina. They just take up space. By default, they're going to get in the way. And you throw in with the poise of a (James) Wisniewski and Mike Mottau, they just make plays that it takes some experience to feel comfortable making."
Maple Leafs: Toronto extended its winning streak to four when Phil Kessel beat Henrik Lundqvist in overtime in a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. The Leafs surrendered a 3-1 lead but left the building with two points thanks to Kessel's tally.

"You know, we're 4-0 for God's sakes … of course it's very satisfying," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "We're happy that we've gotten off to this start, especially in our division. To get a little bit of a pad, that's going to be a long year and this is money in the bank for us when we hit hard times."

Who's Hot: Josh Bailey has been stellar for the Islanders, as he has 3 goals and 4 assists in five games. Bailey had a goal and an assist against Colorado. … Kessel has 4 goals and 2 assists, while Clarke MacArthur has 5 goals for Toronto and is the first player in the history of the franchise to score in each of his first four games with the Maple Leafs.

Injury Report: For the Islanders, Streit and Okposo are both out with shoulder injuries. Okposo is expected back in December, while Streit is likely out until March. Trent Hunter (lower body) and Blake Comeau (foot) are questionable. … The Leafs are boasting a healthy lineup.

Stat Pack: Ten of the Islanders' next 12 games will be played on the road. … With a victory, Toronto can get halfway to the League record of 10 wins it set to open a season back in 1993.

Puck Drop: "We're doing a lot of positive things. It's a positive sort of feeling and attitude and atmosphere in the locker room. We haven't accomplished a lot. We're not going to sit back and dwell on our record. We're doing a lot of good things, but we're still a work in progress." -- Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek

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