Islanders Look to Bury the Leafs in Goals

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UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 16:  Josh Bailey #12 of the New York Islanders celebrates a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 16, 2015 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs: Pregame Report

When: Tuesday, March 9, 2015
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)
Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM (Chris King), LI News Radio 103.9 FM

The New York Islanders (42-21-4) face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs (26-35-5) tonight at Air Canada Centre to conclude their road trip. The team will finally see both trade deadline acquisitions in the lineup, as Tyler Kennedy is in for Colin McDonald and Michal Neuvirth gets his second consecutive start, as per Newsday’s Arthur Staple. Also reported by Staple, Kennedy will be on a line with Michael Grabner and Brock Nelson with the fourth line of Matt Martin, Casey Cizikas, and Cal Clutterbuck back together.

This is also the first game in back-to-back games, the second of which is a date with the New York Rangers, who have tonight off.

Toronto will be without center Nazem Kadri after he was sent home prior to practice Sunday by coach Peter Horachek, when he was late for a meeting. Trevor Smith looks like he’ll take Kadri’s spot between Leo Komarov and Richard Panik, as per the Maple Leafs. The Leafs will also be without defenseman  who will have season ending shoulder surgery.

Jonathan Bernier will start for Toronto who was chased after the first period of a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday when he allowed three goals on 17 shots. The loss was the Maple Leafs’ second-worst at Air Canada Centre this season and their 17th loss by three or more goals, third-most in the League. The Maple Leafs are 5-19-2 under Horachek, winning consecutive games once. The Leafs to have a winning record at the Air Canada Center, however, going 18-14-0 so far this season.

The Islanders have won four of their past five games in Toronto, and are 6-2-2 in their past 10 against the Maple Leafs.

Players To Watch

Islanders

Tyler Kennedy: Having not played in a game over the last week or so, it will be interesting to see how he fits into the Islanders lineup. Kennedy is expected to bring energy but, as fans have seen in the past, he can also put the puck in the net and will help the penalty kill if asked to.

Leafs

Phil Kessel: His quick release and speed up the wing are something fans and players alike are well aware of, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stop. Containing Kessel will be key to winning this game.

Game Notes

  • Scoring Race: John Tavares set a new career high with his 32nd goal of the season Saturday in Florida. He currently leads the NHL with 70 points (38 assists)
  • Rookie Goals Race: Anders Lee ranks second among NHL rookies in goals (22) and fifth in points (35). His six game-winning goals lead all first-year players.
  • Historic Start: The Islanders’ 42 wins this season are the second most through 66 games in franchise history. They were 46-14-7 through 66 games in 1981-82.
  • Need for 3: The Islanders are 35-7-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 7-13-2 when they do not.
  • Shots For: The Islanders have out-shot 32 of their last 38 opponents, posting at least 10 more shots than 19 of those 38 opponents.
Islanders

(Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lines

Islanders

Forwards

Bailey – Tavares – Lee
Kulimen – Nielsen – Strome
Grabner – Nelson – Kennedy
Martin– Cizikas – Clutterbuck

Defense

Leddy-Boychuk
de Haan-Hamonic
Visnovsky-Hickey

Goaltenders
Neuvirth
(Halak)

Leafs

Forwards

van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Kessel
Lupul – Holland – Booth
Komarov – Smith – Panik
Lindstrom – Sill – Kozun

Defense 

Gardiner – Phaneuf
Rielly – Polak
Erixon – Brewer

Goaltenders

Bernier
(Reimer)

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