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Surging Isles head to Toronto

by Brian Compton /
ISLANDERS (23-30-7) at MAPLE LEAFS (25-27-7)

TV: MSG-Plus, Leafs TV.

Last 10: New York 7-3-0; Toronto 6-2-2.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. Toronto avenged a 2-1 overtime loss to the Isles on Oct. 18 when they earned a 5-3 victory on Feb. 8 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Big Story: Al Montoya is certainly making the most of this opportunity Isles GM Garth Snow has provided him. The former first-round pick (Rangers, 2004) won his second straight start as he stopped 20 shots in a 5-1 victory against the Florida Panthers on Monday afternoon. The win came less than 48 hours after Montoya blanked Los Angeles in a 3-0 victory on Saturday night.

"You can see the way things are going, and you want to keep it going," Montoya said. "You want to be a guy who's helping and contributing."

Team Scope:

Islanders: They may have next-to-no chance of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Islanders continue to fight the good fight. With Monday's win against the Panthers, the Isles moved within 11 points of the final spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We're a cohesive bunch, and we've got that never-day-die attitude," said winger Matt Moulson, who had a hat trick in Monday's matinee. "We never quit. We're going to try to get as many wins as we can the rest of the season. It's not over until the season's done."

Maple Leafs: Toronto was denied of a third straight win Saturday night, mainly due to the efforts of Craig Anderson. Ottawa's new goaltender stopped all 47 shots he faced in a 1-0 shootout decision at the Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs, who have traded Tomas Kaberle and Kris Versteeg in the past week, enter Tuesday's action seven points back of No. 8 Carolina.

"The biggest thing is guys in this room are looking to be the answers themselves,” defenseman Luke Schenn told the Toronto Sun. "They are not waiting for more turnover and to bring more people in to get this thing going here as an organization and start winning.

"I think all guys in this room want to be the guy. You're going to get some outside help, as I am sure this is not going to be the team set in stone, but these guys want to be the ones to turn this around."

Who's Hot: With his hat trick Monday, Moulson now has 5 goals in his last two games and leads the Islanders with 26. Josh Bailey also has 3 goals in his last four contests. … Phil Kessel has 3 goals in his last three games for Toronto.

Injury Report: The Islanders, who lead the League in man-games lost, will be without Rick DiPietro (facial fractures, knee swelling), Kevin Poulin (knee), Mark Streit (shoulder), Mike Mottau (hip), Mark Eaton (hip), Jeremy Colliton (rib), Doug Weight (back) and Trent Hunter (knee). … Colby Armstrong (blurred vision) is day-to-day for the Leafs, while Jonas Gustavsson (upper body), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (lower body), Colton Orr (head) and Mike Brown (upper body) are out.

Stat Pack: Over the last two seasons, the Isles' duo of Moulson and John Tavares has scored more goals (100) than Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (93). … With Kaberle traded to Boston, Nikolai Kulemin is now the longest-serving Leaf. Kulemin has played 210 games for the franchise.

Puck Drop: "They're doing the right things. When you do the right things, you get rewarded. The guys are playing within the guidelines we're giving them. They're shooting pucks. I think tonight they had over 35 shots. Good things happen when you get pucks on net." -- Isles interim coach Jack Capuano after Monday's 5-1 win against Florida
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