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Preview: Maple Leafs at Islanders

New York trying to avoid third straight loss; Toronto out to avenge October defeat at Barclays Center

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

MAPLE LEAFS (24-17-9) at ISLANDERS (22-18-10)

7 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+2, NHL.TV

Maple Leafs team scope 

The Toronto Maple Leafs return to Barclays Center for the first time since a 5-1 loss against the New York Islanders on Oct. 30. Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock hasn't forgotten. "Last time we came in here, they spanked us," Babcock said. "We played in Montreal the night before and they came in here and just shot it in our net. They were way better than us. We need to play better tonight, and I think we will. We seem to have our energy back and a little more detail coming into our game, so that's important. We're excited. We dropped the ball in our last segment when we got four points and we needed six. We've got a new segment starting tonight. We've got to get started on time." The Maple Leafs and Islanders are chasing the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Toronto is two points back with three games in hand on Philadelphia; New York is five points back with three games in hand.


Islanders team scope 

New York has lost its last two games (0-1-1) after starting 5-0-1 under coach Doug Weight. The Islanders managed one of a possible four points over the weekend, losing in regulation at the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and in overtime against the Carolina Hurricanes at Barclays Center on Saturday. After allowing two goals or fewer in three straight games, the Islanders have allowed 10 in their past two. "Some of it's just execution, just making the plays that are there and being in the right spots," captain John Tavares said. "Some teams are going to make some plays sometimes as well. It's going to happen, you've just got to find a way to limit them, obviously. We've had opportunities the last couple of games to win, and hopefully we can be the ones getting the last goal tonight. It's just the way it is sometimes. It's a long year, a lot of hockey. We've just got to find a way to get two points." 


Maple Leafs projected lineup 

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Connor Brown

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- William Nylander

Matt Martin -- Ben Smith -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner -- Connor Carrick

Martin Marincin -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Alexey Marchenko, Frank Corrado, Josh Leivo, Matt Hunwick

Injured: None 


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 -- Shane Prince

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Hickey -- Adam Pelech

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Scratched: Scott Mayfield, Stephen Gionta

Injured: Travis Hamonic (knee), Cal Clutterbuck (lower body)


Status report

Rielly, who has been dealing with a high ankle sprain, skated Monday morning and will play. "Lots of guys in this room that are battling through bumps and bruises and injuries," Rielly said. "It's just something I'm going to have to manage and deal with. It's nothing that's going to keep me out of the lineup. We're all grinding. Just one of those things." … Clutterbuck and Hamonic did not skate Monday morning. "Cal's good," Weight said. "Staying off the ice again. Anytime you have an injury that kind of comes back, you've got to make sure … we're going to make sure he's healthy. We don't want to lose Cal for a long period of time, but he's feeling better and I expect him to be on the ice real soon here." Weight said he expects Hamonic to get back on the ice "real soon."


Who's hot

Marner (two goals, three assists), van Riemsdyk (two goals, two assists) and Bozak (one goal, two assists) have three-game point streaks. Nylander had a hat trick in Toronto's 6-5 win at Boston on Saturday. … Bailey has four goals in his past five games. Strome (one goal, three assists) and Nelson (one goal, two assists) have three-game point streaks. Lee has a goal and three assists in the past two games.

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