Game Preview: Islanders vs. Maple Leafs
The Islanders kick off the post-Olympic schedule against the Maple Leafs.
Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Sarah Holzberg
|New York Islanders
22-30-8 (52 points – 8th in Metropolitan Division, 14th in Eastern Conference)
|Toronto Maple Leafs
32-22-6 (70 points - 4th in Atlantic Division, 5th in Eastern Conference)
Television: MSG PLUS
Play-by-play: Howie Rose; Color: Butch Goring
Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
• Tavares Injured: Captain John Tavares suffered an MCL tear in Sochi and is out for the rest of the Islanders' season. He does not require surgery and his rehab is expected to take eight-to-12 weeks.
• Nielsen/Martin Hurt: Frans Nielsen was placed on injured reserve (hand), retroactive to Feb. 8, while Matt Martin is out with a lower-body injury.
• Call-ups: Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and Mike Halmo were called up on emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
• Okposo: Kyle Okposo is eighth in league scoring with with 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists).
• Phil the Thrill: Phil Kessel leads the Leafs in goals (31), assists (34) and points (65).
• Supporting Scorers: James van Reimsdyk is second in team scoring with 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) and Tyler Bozak has 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) in 36 games this season.
• Shots Against: The Leafs are allowing a league-high 36.2 shots per game. The Islanders have taken 62 shots in their two games against the Leafs this season.
• Special Teams: The Leafs have allowed a league high 44 power-play goals, but have the NHL's second-best power play, converting at 22.2%.
|Islanders player to watch
Michael Grabner - Forward
Michael Grabner was one of the breakout stars of the Sochi Games, tying Phil Kessel with a tournament-high five goals, despite playing two fewer games. The Isles’ Austrian winger finished fifth in Olympic scoring with six points, again despite playing at least one fewer game than the next 25 scoring leaders. Grabner hopes his hot hands will carry over to the NHL in the Isles' stretch drive.
|Leafs player to watch
Phil Kessel - Forward
Phil Kessel is coming off of a dynamite Olympic performance, where he was named the top forward of the tournament. Kessel’s five goals and eight points were both tied for tournament highs, despite not scoring in Team USA's final two games. The Leafs winger is currently ranked fourth in NHL scoring with 65 points (31 goals, 34 assists) and second in the league in goals. Kessel has points in 13-of-15 games and has 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) over that span.
|2013-14 season series (1-1-0)
The Islanders and Maple Leafs have split their season series 1-1-0, with both games taking place in Toronto. In the most recent outing, the Isles beat the Leafs 5-3. Captain John Tavares had three assists and Calvin de Haan’s first-career NHL goal held up as the game winner. Frans Nielsen broke a 2-2 tie in the third period, while Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo and Cal Clutterbuck lit the lamp for the Islanders.
Jan. 7, 2014: NYI 5, TOR 3 - RECAP, BOX SCORE, HIGHLIGHTS
|New York Islanders projected game lines
26 Thomas Vanek – 29 Brock Nelson – 21 Kyle Okposo
40 Michael Grabner – 12 Josh Bailey – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
27 Anders Lee – 18 Ryan Strome – 13 Colin McDonald
36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas – 43 Mike Halmo
44 Calvin de Haan – 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky
37 Brian Strait – 47 Andrew MacDonald
20 Evgeni Nabokov
60 Kevin Poulin
|Toronto Maple Leafs previous game lines
21 James van Riemsdyk – 42 Tyler Bozak – 81 Phil Kessel
19 Joffrey Lupul – 43 Nazem Kadri – 71 David Clarkson
40 Troy Bodie – 41 Nikolai Kulemin – 12 Mason Raymond
38 Frazer McLaren – 11 Jay McClement – 15 Paul Ranger
36 Carl Gunnarsson – 3 Dion Phaneuf
4 Cody Franson – 51 Jake Gardiner
8 Tim Gleason – 44 Morgan Rielly
45 Jonathan Bernier
34 James Reimer
|What's Happening at the Coliseum:
• Lower Lobby @ 5pm
• Doors Open @ 5:45pm
• Charity of Game: Brain Tumor Society
• Mercedes Benz CAP (chuck a puck)
• Islanders St. Patrick’s Jersey Auction
• MSG+ Islander Hat Giveaway