New York Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Isles look for one more win before short holiday break
Friday, 12.23.2011 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
(Answer from 12/22: 20 points. The Isles set team records for most goals (7) assists (13) and points (20) in a period en route to a 9-4 thumping of the Rangers. Bryan Trottier had a hat-trick and two assists in the second period of that game ultimately scoring five goals on the night.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart. Head Coach Jack Capuano said he'll roll with the same lineup as Thursday night.
Maple Leafs (Expected) LineupsForwards: Lupul-Bozak-Kessel, Kulemin-Grabovski-Frattin, Kadri-Connolly-MacArthur, Boyce-Steckel-Crabb
Defensemen: Gunnarsson-Phaneuf, Liles-Franson, Gardiner-Schenn, Aullie
Goaltenders: Reimer, Gustavsson
Expected scratches: Orr, Rosehill
|Team Record: 11-15-6
Last Game: 4-2 L @ NYR
Season Series: 0-0-0 of 4
|Team Record: 17-13-4
Last Game: 3-2 W vs. BUF
Season Series: 0-0-0 of 4
The 25-year-old defenseman may be one of the Islanders biggest assets on the blue line. He's used in all game situations - quarterbacks the power play, sends in hard shots from the blue line and blocks shots when times call for it on the PK.
His overall play, complimented by his young d-partner Travis Hamonic, makes MacDonald stronger in his own end. Playing a team-high 24:23 of ice time Thursday night, MacDonald may not have added too much to the stat sheet, but it was his defensive play that left him off the score sheet for all but the empty-net at the end, which occurred off a turnover in the neutral zone two seconds after he stepped on the ice from a line change.
MacDonald has also put up points in two-of-three games (scoring a goal and an assist) since returning from injury Dec. 17; he had just one goal in the 22 games prior.
| Phil Kessel
With 19 goals and 20 assists for 39 points through 33 games, the Leafs All-Star forward is not just third in the league in points. He's also on pace to smash his previous career-highs in all categories, including last season's 64 points and a 36-goal season with the Boston Bruins in 2008-09.
Though the right wing has posted three goals and four assists in the month of December, his knack for finding the back of the net hasn't helped the struggling Leafs as they've posted a 2-4-2 record in that eight-game span.
The Islanders return to Nassau Coliseum having posted a 2-1-0 record in their three game road trip.Two wins came in the shootout. Set to play their final game before the short holiday break, the Islanders will play their first of four games against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night, to conclude a set of three games in four nights.
But one thing will be on their mind. Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano said he’s still focused on trying to find scoring from more lines than that of John Tavares and Frans Nielsen.
"Let’s not kid ourselves; we’ve had some trouble scoring goals on our hockey team,” Capuano said. “We’ve had a couple lines in the last three games that have scored goals, but the power play tonight, we talked about getting pucks to the net and both goals came off shots and rebounds."
Both Islanders goals Thursday night were scored by Tavares’ linemates. And more of that was repeated in the Isles shootout wins. Michael Grabner and PA Parenteau scored in regulation against the Jets, while Andrew MacDonald scored the lone regulation goal in Minnesota.
Possibly even more important that the number of goals scored, is the order in which the Isles get on the scoreboard. The Isles hold a 9-3-3 record when scoring the first goal.
As the lowest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference, it's not hard to see where the New York Islanders need the most improvement.
Their overall play at home is also in need of a major upgrade.
The Islanders look to win at Nassau Coliseum for only the second time in eight games Friday night when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs for the first time this season.
Because last season's team fell one goal shy of having three 30-goal scorers and ranked 15th in the NHL in scoring, offense didn't figure to be a big problem for the Islanders this year. (Continue Reading)
The Toronto Maple Leafs fought hard for the extra point, tying the score three times before falling in the extra session with a tip-in goal from former Islanders forward Blake Comeau. The goal, scored with 58 seconds remaining in overtime, propelled the Isles to a 4-3 win March 8 at Nassau Coliseum. Zenon Konopka, Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner traded goals with Keith Aulie, Tim Brent and Nikolai Kulemin. Al Montoya made 24 saves for the win.
IslandersPower Play %: 15.9%
Penalty Kill %: 81.0%
Home Record: 6-8-3
Road Record: 5-7-3
Goals For: 74
Goals Against: 103
Maple LeafsPower Play %: 21.4%
Penalty Kill %: 73.4%
Home Record: 8-5-4
Road Record: 9-8-0
Goals For: 105
Goals Against: 110
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano on the team’s loss to the Rangers on Thursday night: "I give our guys a lot of credit. We had a lot of guys that really stuck up for themselves and the team tonight in key situations. We had some odd-man rushes. We just can’t finish. Hopefully for those guys, the puck is going to find the back of the net for them because I think if we get some secondary scoring from this team, we’re going to be more successful."
Cory Wright contributed to this report