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Maple Leafs at Islanders preview

Toronto looks to close gap on second place in Atlantic; New York 3-10-4 in past 17 games

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

MAPLE LEAFS (46-24-7) at ISLANDERS (32-35-10)

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

 

The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to tighten the race in the Atlantic Division when they visit the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Friday.

The Maple Leafs, who are 7-2-0 in their past nine games and clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth on Thursday, are in third place in the Atlantic, seven points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning and eight points behind the first-place Boston Bruins. Toronto, which has scored at least four goals in seven of their past nine games, has played one more game than Boston.

The Islanders, 3-10-4 in their past 17 games, were eliminated from playoff contention on Monday.

 

Players to watch

Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in a 10-game point streak.

Islanders forward Mathew Barzal has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in his past 16 games.

 

They said it

"I think his hands and his skill around the net are second to none. Obviously since the trade deadline, he's gone to another level." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on forward James van Riemsdyk 

"He's been one of the best players now for a while, one of the top players in the entire League. … I'm not looking at it as I'm going head-to-head with him or anything, but just the chance to play against him and see the habits and see the things he does out there, I'm sure it's going to benefit my game as well." -- Islanders center Mathew Barzal on facing Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews

 

Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Patrick Marleau -- Nazem Kadri -- Mitchell Marner

James van Riemsdyk -- Tyler Bozak -- Connor Brown

Andreas Johnsson -- Tomas Plekanec -- Kasperi Kapanen

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Travis Dermott -- Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Josh Leivo, Matt Martin, Dominic Moore, Connor Carrick

Injured: Leo Komarov (left leg)

 

Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier -- Mathew Barzal -- Tanner Fritz

Andrew Ladd -- Brock Nelson -- Cal Clutterbuck

Ross Johnston -- Chris Wagner

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock

Brandon Davidson -- Adam Pelech

Dennis Seidenberg

Christopher Gibson

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Scott Mayfield

Injured: Jaroslav Halak (illness), Josh Bailey (upper body), Casey Cizikas (upper body), Nikolay Kulemin (upper body), Calvin de Haan (upper body), Shane Prince (lower body), Alan Quine (lower body)

 

Status report

The Maple Leafs did not hold a morning skate. … Greiss was activated off injured reserve after Halak became ill Thursday night. "He hasn't eaten in a while and didn't look good this morning," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. The emergency recall status Gibson had from Greiss being on IR was transferred to Halak. … The Islanders will play seven defensemen with the shortage at forward.

 

Stat pack

Van Riemsdyk has 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in his past eight games. … Lee has six goals in his past six games.

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