New York Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs - Game preview
The Islanders look to recoup in the back end of a home and home before the All-Star break
Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 12:00 AM / News
By Katrina Doell
Capuano suggested last night there could be lineup changes. If he does change lines, they will be posted here after morning media availablity. Click here.
Maple Leafs (Expected) LineupsForwards: Lombardi-Bozak-Kessel; MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin; Lupul-Connolly-Kadri; Crabb-Steckel-Brown
Defensemen:Phaneuf-Schenn; Gunnarsson-Komisarek; Gardiner-Franson
|Team Record: 19-22-6
Last Game: 3-0 L @ TOR
Season Series: 0-2-0 of 4
|Team Record: 24-19-5
Last Game: 3-0 W v NYI
Season Series: 2-0-0 of 4
When Kyle Okposo moved to the top line with Matt Moulson and John Tavares on Dec. 29, he had 13 points in 35 games. In the 13 games since, he has 11 points (5g/6a).
All three players, when asked, will always credit their successful play to their linemates. In Okposo’s case, his play can definitely be correlated to Tavares’ recent NHL best 12-game point streak.
“Kyle is more of a power forward type guy,” Capuano said on Saturday before the Isles 2-1 OT win over Carolina. “When we decided to make that move, it only took a couple of games for us to notice that his size and speed open things up.”
At 8:10 of the second period on Monday, Kessel tied the lethal Penguin linemates James Neal and Evgeni Malkin for third in the NHL with 26 goals.
His 25 assists give him a total of 51 points through 48 games. It looks like he is on pace to break his career high totals in points and assists from last season, his first after being traded from the Boston Bruins, when he had 64 points (34g/34a).
Kessel has been a force for the Leafs this season and is second on the team in scoring behind Joffrey Lupul who has 52 points (20g/32a).
Ended streaks – The Isles three-game win streak was snapped with last night's 3-0 loss to the Leafs. John Tavares’ 12-game point streak ended, as did Evgeni Nabokov’s four-game win streak.
Playoffs – The Leafs are tied with the Washington Capitals for the eighth spot in the east and the Islanders started Monday just two points off their pace in 2007, the last time they made the playoffs.
All Stars – Tonight is the last game for both teams before the All-Star break. John Tavares will make his first career All-Star appearance this weekend. The Leafs will send three representatives a few hours north to Ottawa: Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, and Joffrey Lupul. Together they have 131 points for the Leafs.
#themoreyouknow – The Isles penalty kill has been killer. They have stopped 34 of 35 chances when teams have been on the man advantage.
The Islanders spotted the Maple Leafs another early lead when they played Monday night. Matthew Lombardi opened the scoring at 1:37 and that’s all the Leafs needed. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 25 shots for his third shutout of the season while Phil Kessel and Lombardi tallied the Leafs last two goals. The loss ended John Tavares’s 12-game point streak and the Islanders three-game win streak.
Click the photo for gallery from last game
IslandersPower Play %: 19.46%
Penalty Kill %: 84.51%
Home Record: 11-11-3
Road Record: 8-10-3
Goals For: 109
Goals Against: 136
*Stats as of Monday
Maple LeafsPower Play %: 20.12%
Penalty Kill %: 75%
Home Record: 13-8-4
Road Record: 10-11-1
Goals For: 141
Goals Against: 144
*Stats as of Monday
John Tavares to the throngs of media before him at Monday's morning skate: "This is what it's all about. These are the types of games we want to be playing in - meaningful games and being part of the race."