NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at Toronto
(Monday, December 8th)
Final Score: Toronto 4, NY Islanders 2
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Jason Blake netted what turned out to be the game-winning goal late in the second period and assisted on two others as the Toronto Maple Leafs topped the New York Islanders, 4-2, at Air Canada Centre.
Jeremy Williams tallied a goal and assist while Nikolai Kulemin and Ian White had the other scores for Toronto, which halted a three-game slide. Vesa Toskala picked up the win with 26 saves.
"I didn't think I'd be nervous but I was. It was like my first game all over again with coach (Ron) Wilson and the new staff," Williams said after skating in his first game this season following a weekend call-up from the minors.
The Maple Leafs won for only the second time in their last six home games and have still been on the losing end in eight of their last 11 overall. The Leafs next travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres Friday.
Bill Guerin and Mike Sillinger lit the lamp for New York, which has lost three straight and five of its last six overall.
Joey MacDonald was beaten for four goals on 37 shots and has now given up four or more goals in five of his last six starts, including nine over his last two starts.
"We're inconsistent. Early in the season we start out good and lose steam -- now we come out slow and come on late," MacDonald said. "We've got to learn to play a full sixty minutes."
Monday's loss was the opener of a four-game road trip for the Islanders, who are now 5-7-1 as the visiting club this year.
The Leafs took a 3-2 lead with 1:39 left in the second by answering an Islanders score from a little over two minutes earlier. Williams, skating across the high slot, feathered a nifty pass through two defenders to Blake cutting toward the net from the right boards. Blake finished off the play by flipping the puck past MacDonald on the far side.
Toronto added an insurance goal at the 8:21 mark of the third. The Leafs worked the puck to perfection off an offensive zone faceoff and Blake took the puck from Pavel Kubina, swirling through the right circle before sending a cross-ice pass to Williams low in the left circle for a one-timer to the short side.
The teams skated at even-strength for the duration of the third until New York pulled MacDonald with 1:16 left, but Toskala added to his third-period save total of 13 and denied a late flurry from the Isles.
The Leafs took an early lead with the game's first goal four minutes in. Alexei Ponikarovsky slid a blind pass into the low slot from the right corner to Kulemin cutting through the circles for a one-timer past MacDonald.
However, Freddy Meyer's slap shot from the right point just 12 seconds later was deflected on the way in by Guerin and through the legs of Toskala.
A short time later Blake Comeau was taken down on a breakaway but the Isles were unable to convert to their power-play opportunity -- and the first period ended, 1-1.
Toronto took a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal with 7:04 to go in the second. Anton Stralman faked a shot in the high slot and sent a hard pass into the left circle for White, who stopped the puck and snapped off a shot high and over the left shoulder of MacDonald.
New York had an answer again, though, as Chris Campoli's shot caromed off a Toronto defender's skate and Sillinger got a piece of the disc on the way in, tying things up with 3:53 remaining.
The Islanders have won five of the last eight meetings against the Maple Leafs despite the loss on Monday...Toronto improved to 5-5-4 as the host team this season...Blake collected his 199th and 200th career assists while Williams tallied his first career NHL assist -- the goal was the fifth of his career...The Islanders entered play last in the Atlantic Division with 22 points, while Toronto now has 26 points and came in tied with Ottawa for the bottom spot in the Northeast...It was Guerin's 398th career goal.
12/09 00:43:13 ET