NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 7th
(All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (15-22-7) at Toronto Maple Leafs (21-17-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Whatever confidence the Toronto Maple Leafs earned by
winning the 2014 Winter Classic came crashing down in the club's next trip to
On Tuesday, the Maple Leafs hope to rebound from a lopsided defeat when they
host the surging New York Islanders at Air Canada Centre.
Toronto posted a 3-2 shootout win while battling the Detroit Red Wings and
snowy conditions on New Year's Day in Ann Arbor. The outdoor victory was the
third straight win for the Maple Leafs, but that streak came to an abrupt halt
with Saturday's 7-1 rout at the hands of the visiting New York Rangers.
New York grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period and extend that cushion to
five goals before Toronto finally reached the scoreboard late in the second
period. When the dust finally settled, the Rangers wound up scoring seven
goals in Toronto for the first time since winning 8-2 at Maple Leaf Gardens
on March 14, 1990.
Joffrey Lupul scored the lone goal for Toronto and Jonathan Bernier let in
five goals on 32 shots before being pulled. James Reimer played the last 23-
plus minutes in net and gave up two goals on 18 shots.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said he thought the Winter Classic would have an
adverse effect on his team's skating, but also didn't believe the "hangover"
should've lasted more than a period.
"That would be my assumption of it, that you might start out flat for a period
but you'd be able to get your legs back under you and get your game going to
at least be more competitive," he said. "I expected a lot more from our group
than what we got."
The Leafs hope to bounce back against an Islanders team that has lost two of
three and five of the last eight games in this series. Toronto notched a 5-2
home win over New York back on Nov. 19, snapping the Isles' three-game winning
streak at Air Canada Centre.
Leafs forward David Clarkson, who scored a goal when Toronto downed the
visiting Islanders earlier this season, expects to miss Tuesday's tilt after
injuring his left foot in Saturday's loss. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson also
left that game an upper-body injury and is doubtful for tonight's test.
The Islanders enter Tuesday having won four of their last five games and the
club is coming off Monday's lopsided win over the visiting Dallas Stars.
John Tavares recorded his fifth career hat trick and tied a career-high with
five points in leading the Isles to the rout of the Stars at Nassau Coliseum.
It was the highest goal total of the season for New York, which trailed 2-0
after 20 minutes, but received a goal apiece from Peter Regin, Ryan Strome,
Brock Nelson and Brian Strait, along with all three of Tavares' tallies, to
skate away with the victory.
With his huge night, Tavares pushed his point streak to five games. He has
seven goals and five assists during the run and is third in the NHL with 51
points (20 goals, 31 assists) in 43 games this season.
"A lot of guys did great things," Tavares said. "I was just happy I was able
Evgeni Nabokov got the start in net for New York, but left the game in the
first period with a lower-body injury. Kevin Poulin took over between the
pipes and stopped 13 shots to pick up the victory.
Poulin expects to get the start tonight in Toronto. His only career appearance
against the Maple Leafs came on Nov. 19, when he yielded five goals on 24
shots in a loss at ACC.
The Islanders will try to stay hot when they begin a six-game road trip
tonight. New York is just 8-13-0 as the guest this season, but has won four
straight away from Long Island.
01/07 10:52:49 ET