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New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs - Game preview

The New York Islanders open a home-and-home on the road in Toronto and look to extend three-game win streak

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By David Hochman
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New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs - Game preview
Capuano has not been making many line-upchanges. Updates if needed after morning media availability Monday. Click here.

Maple Leafs (Expected) Lineups
Forwards: Lombardi-Bozak-Kessel; MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin; Lupul-Connolly-Kadri; Crabb-Steckel-Brown

Phaneuf-Schenn; Gunnarsson-Komisarek; Gardiner-Franson


Team Record: 19-21-6
Last Game: 2-1 OT W v CAR
Season Series: 0-1-0 of 4
Team Record: 23-19-5
Last Game: 3-1 L v MTL
Season Series: 1-0-0 of 4
John Tavares
John Tavares is arguably the hottest player in the National Hockey League right now. At the midway point of the regular season, his current 12-game point streak is the longest of the year in the NHL. It’s no coincidence that during Tavares’ career-high point streak the Islanders have an 8-4 record, their best 12-game stretch all year.

Whether he’s been setting up vital goals for his linemates or finishing them, he’s consistently playing a strong game on both sides of the puck, with and without it. Before making his first career All-Star appearance this weekend in Ottawa, Tavares leads the Isles into Toronto’s Air Canada Center for the first game of a home-and-home with the Maple Leafs. Tavares often saves some of his best work for the team he grew up with, averaging a point-per-game in his young career when visiting Toronto.
Joffrey Lupul
After the early-season scoring explosion of teammate Phil Kessel, Lupul has slowly slid under the radar with the best season of his career so far. With 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists) in 46 games, Lupul is a multi-point game away from the top two spots in the Art Ross race.

Lupul and Kessel have combined to become the top-scoring pair of forwards in the NHL over the first half of the season. Playing in Toronto and putting up those kinds of points could only keep an all-world talent under the radar for so long. Lupul has been named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his eight-year career, and last week was appointed one of the Assistant Captains for the game.
Streaking – The Islanders have won three straight games and four of their last five to move within nine points of the eighth-place Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference.

The Isles are seeking their first four-game winning streak of 2011-12 as they travel to Toronto for the first time this season. In their only other matchup this year, the Leafs topped the Isles 5-3 at the Coliseum in the last game before the holiday break. Now, a pair of games against Toronto stands between the Isles and the All-Star break.

Dirty Dozen John Tavares scored both goals in the Islanders third consecutive victory Saturday night, tying the Carolina Hurricanes before beating them in overtime at Nassau Coliseum. His 12-game point-scoring streak includes eight goals and 13 assists, with seven multi-point games along the way.

Nabokov Staying Solid, Breaking Streaks – With 32 saves, Evgeni Nabokov became the first Islanders goaltender of the season to win four straight starts. He also became the first Isles netminder this year to win a game in overtime, and the first to win while wearing the team’s new, black third jerseys.

Perfect Penalty Kill – A 3-3 night on the penalty kill led by a relentless forecheck from Matt Martin helped push the game against Carolina into overtime. The Isles have killed 32 of their last 33 penalties for a remarkable 97 percent kill rate in 13 games.
Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. Toronto took the first matchup, a 5-3 decision at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 23. The clubs will meet again Tuesday night in New York.

Big Story: Some might think the Islanders are no longer in the playoff race. But this club enters Monday's action winners of three straight and just nine points behind the eighth-place Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference. The Isles are just two points off the pace they were on at this stage in 2007 -- the last time they qualified for the postseason.

"Every game we play now is absolutely huge for us, especially against these teams," said Isles center John Tavares, who has a League-best 12-game point streak. "[These are] conference teams that we are battling in position with. We are still fighting hard and we still believe in here. We are really coming together."
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The Islanders spotted the Leafs an early 3-0 lead en route to a 5-3 loss in the teams first meeting on Dec. 23, 2011. Clarke MacArthur, Nazim Kadri and Carl Gunnarsson scored in the first 11 minutes, but the Islanders made a game of it. Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen brought the Islanders to within one, but Joey Crabb’s shorthanded goal held up to be the game-winner. John Tavares scored to make it 4-3 late in the third, but that is as close as the Islanders would come.
Date of
Katic 9/24 Shoulder 46 out indef. (IR)
DiPietro 1/3 Sports hernia/knee swelling 10 10 weeks
Mottau 12/30 Concussion 11 No timetbl. (IR)
Reasoner 1/7 Broken hand 8 No timetbl. (IR)
Power Play %: 19.46%
Penalty Kill %: 84.51%
Home Record: 11-11-3
Road Record: 8-10-3
Goals For: 109
Goals Against: 136
Maple Leafs
Power Play %: 20.12%
Penalty Kill %: 75%
Home Record: 13-8-4
Road Record: 10-11-1
Goals For: 141
Goals Against: 144

John Tavares on the battle of every game: "Every game we play now is absolutely huge for us, especially against these teams. [These are] conference teams that we are battling in position with. We are still fighting hard and we still believe in here, we are really coming together."




1 MTL 25 18 4 3 87 55 39
2 NYR 25 17 6 2 73 52 36
3 WSH 23 17 5 1 74 51 35
4 NYI 25 13 8 4 72 60 30
5 OTT 23 12 6 5 73 65 29
6 PIT 23 13 8 2 51 53 28
7 DET 24 12 8 4 56 60 28
8 BOS 22 13 8 1 72 64 27
9 NJD 23 12 9 2 54 55 26
10 TBL 25 11 11 3 58 56 25
11 FLA 23 10 9 4 58 58 24
12 PHI 24 9 10 5 44 64 23
13 BUF 24 10 12 2 53 61 22
14 TOR 24 8 11 5 54 62 21
15 CAR 24 8 12 4 50 69 20
16 CBJ 25 10 15 0 60 76 20


J. Tavares 22 11 10 0 21
K. Okposo 25 6 14 -3 20
F. Nielsen 25 9 10 3 19
B. Nelson 25 8 7 1 15
J. Bailey 24 5 7 3 12
A. Lee 25 4 8 0 12
M. Grabovski 25 4 7 6 11
J. Boychuk 25 3 7 4 10
R. Strome 15 3 6 1 9
N. Kulemin 25 2 7 8 9
J. Halak 6 4 2 .921 2.02
T. Greiss 7 3 2 .925 2.30 is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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