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Preview: Islanders at Maple Leafs

New York can move into playoff spot with win; Toronto to start goaltender Frederik Andersen

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (25-19-10) at MAPLE LEAFS (25-18-11)

7:30 p.m. ET; TSN4, MSG+, NHL.TV


Islanders team scope

A win by the New York Islanders would move them past the Toronto Maple Leafs and into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "There's no way it doesn't [up the intensity]," coach Doug Weight said. "You play 82 games and you want to have that intensity every game. For the most part, the guys do. But there's just a feel about not just being in Toronto, but the status of this game. We've been digging out of a hole for close to two months now and it's a hole we created for ourselves. But there's a lot of belief in here. Tonight's a huge game and I don't think it's anything to shy away from." The Islanders are 8-2-2 since Weight replaced Jack Capuano as coach Jan. 17. "We didn't change a whole lot of [Capuano's] message, but certainly Doug has got his own personality and his own way of handling things," captain John Tavares said. "He's done a really good job of just trying to get everyone on the same page and push some of us individually. Everyone seems to have been sliding into their roles and understanding what we have to do to have success. Once you start having that success, the confidence starts to come and sometimes you can't even explain it." Goaltender Thomas Greiss will start.


Maple Leafs team scope

Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen will make his third consecutive start and try for the 100th victory of his NHL career. He has allowed five goals in his past two starts after allowing 16 goals in his previous three starts. The Maple Leafs did not hold a morning skate for the first time this season for a game that was not the second of back-to-backs. "I liked our practice Monday," coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought we worked hard. I thought we were ready." Toronto is one point ahead of the Islanders for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. "We know that more than anything they want to catch us," forward Nazem Kadri said. "We're a point ahead of them so we want to try as best as we can to separate ourselves." Toronto has lost its past two games; in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, they trailed 1-0 and were outshot 17-4 in the first period. In their 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, they were behind 3-0 after the first period. Forward Auston Matthews said the importance of the game Tuesday shouldn't be the sole incentive to have a better start. "I think we should be focused every single game," he said. "But I think especially now in the situation we're in, we feel good, we're in that fine line of teams that are pushing to make the playoffs. For this team that's been the goal all year, and we don't want to have any setbacks."


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Anthony Beauvillier -- Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome

Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Nikolay Kulemin -- Casey Cizikas -- Stephen Gionta

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey -- Adam Pelech

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: Scott Mayfield

Injured: Shane Prince, (upper body), Travis Hamonic (lower body), Cal Clutterbuck (lower body)


Maple Leafs projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- William Nylander

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Connor Brown

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Josh Leivo

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Martin Marincin, Alexey Marchenko

Injured: Nikita Soshnikov (upper body)


Status Report

Prince was injured during a 5-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. Weight said Prince will be out for the time being. … Soshnikov will miss his third consecutive game.


Who's hot

Tavares has 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in his past 15 games. ... Lee has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past six games. ... Strome has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past seven games. ... Kadri has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past 11 games. ... Marner has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games. ... Zaitsev has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games. 

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