Game Preview: Leafs host JT’s Islanders

Game Preview: Leafs host JT’s Islanders

Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images

Picking up two points versus the Islanders before Kadri and Bozak return with Predators, Capitals and Blue Jackets on the docket could set the Leafs up nicely for the rest of November. The Leafs need to accumulate some points before they embark on a December from hell.

With the likes of Trevor Smith, Jay McClement and Jerred Smithson playing elevated minutes at center, the Leafs have been forced to try to grind out goals and generate more in-zone offense with less of their usual rush attack exploits. It’s been a struggle to score, but the goaltending has remained steadily excellent and the Leafs have been trudging along while splitting the points.

The Islanders lost goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to the injured reserve after he injured his groin in the first period of a 5-4 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Backup Kevin Poulin finished out the game in that high-scoring affair and is expected to start tonight. Poulin had already been getting a growing share of the starts over the struggling Nabokov. He is 3-5-0 with a .909 save percentage.

The Islanders have also been without prized new acquisition Thomas Vanek, who is day to day with an upper body injury. John Tavares has not missed a beat without previous running mate Matt Moulson, riding into tonight’s game on a five-game streak that includes eight points. Tavares has feasted on the Leafs in his last three visits to the ACC, with eight points over his last three trips to Toronto.

The Islanders haven’t built on their playoff appearance last season in the early stages of 2013-14. There are some young offensive weapons on this team, but it’s a weak club defensively that hasn’t benefited from the same strength in goaltending as last year. Frans Nielsen, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo have all hit the 20-point plateau already through 21 games; after those three, with Vanek hurt, the Isles’ scoring trails off quickly. Expect Lupul – Smith – Clarkson to take on the brunt of the Tavares/Okposo matchup.

The Leafs allowed 16 goals against in their three meetings with the Islanders last season while losing two of three. One assumes Reimer keeps the net having won on Saturday, but he doesn’t have a good history against New York. Could go either way.

While they have had a hard time shutting down Tavares and company, the Leafs do hold a significant edge in goaltending and special teams going into this contest. While the Leafs have dropped down into the middle of the pack in goals per game after scoring just four goals over five games before putting four by Jhonas Enroth on Saturday, their powerplay has moved up to third in the league and will line up against the worst penalty kill in the NHL.

The lineup for the Leafs will likely remain the same outside of Morgan Rielly stepping in for the banged-up Mark Fraser.

Head to Head:LeafsIslanders
Record12-7-18-10-3
GF/G2.75 (14th)2.76 (12th)
GA/G2.30 (9th)3.14 (27th)
SF/G26.5 (28th)30.3 (14th)
SA/G35.8 (28th)30.0 (14th)
PP23.5% (3rd)18.9% (17th)
PK83.5% (11th)72.3% (30th)
5 on 5 F/A1.14 (9th)0.91 (21st)
Sh%10.3% (4th)9.1% (13th)
Sv%93.6% (2nd)89.5% (27th)
FO%46.7% (25th)45.1% (29th)
Goalie H2HRecordSV%GAASOEV SV%PK SV%
Jonathan Bernier7-5-1.9382.051.945.923
Kevin Poulin3-5-0.9092.520.926.793
Projected Lineup  
Left WingCenterRight Wing
JvRHollandKessel
LupulSmithClarkson
RaymondMcClementKulemin
Ashton/McLarenSmithsonOrr
Left DefenseRight Defense
PhaneufGunnarsson
GardinerFranson
RiellyRanger
Starter: Bernier
Reimer

Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #12 for your Game Day:

274 comments
Dan39
Dan39

Funny story from the Marlies game theo ther day. 

This little boy and his buddy, probably about 8 or 10 years old are sitting next to me and a spider crawls along the glass near them. 

Now in my day, you would kill that spider on sight, certainly well before anyone could accuse you of being scared or anything. 

These two are pointing and doing things other than crushing/torturing it so I assume they're just pussies and, being the nice guy I am, I offer to step in and kill it. 

I swear, the one kid tells me "No, don't kill it - it's a living animal".

Had a good chuckle. Kids these days...

Jordan29
Jordan29

And should I buy the new GTA5 or call of duty? I have money for both but only time for one.......this is harder then any decision in my life

Jordan29
Jordan29

Does anyone here run an LG mini split? 

Jordan29
Jordan29

If we had more defensive depth I would trade Gardiner for Schenn, but we cant lose him right now. Not enough back there yet with Rielly not yet a top 4, Finn and others not close

Cameron19
Cameron19

Who all did Buffalo send down today?  Grigorenko, Zadorov, Ristolainen? They decided to keep Girgensons though?

ingy56
ingy56

So Kypreos thinks Gardiner for Brayden Schenn is a good idea... I feel smarter for not listening to that shit at noon. 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Mark Masters ‏@markhmasters 24s

Face-offs been a challenge for John Tavares this season; he's winning 43.4% of his draws (82nd in NHL); was at 49.4% last season

Lescott
Lescott

Battlefield or NHL. Fuck the rest.

docyqx
docyqx

@ingy56 that's more than likely just wishful thinking by the Philly FANITIS and the ANTI LEAF Sentiments coming out in Kypreos.... Sure, as a fan of the Flyers, they'd love to have Gards....


Cameron19
Cameron19

@ingy56 Did it turn out he just thought it was a good idea, or was he saying something was actually happening there?

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski @ingy56 Yeah, lucky is right. It's one reason I drive a truck, although they have their own issues such as possible roll-overs. Still feel safer though.

ingy56
ingy56

@docyqx @ingy56 If the game is on Sportsnet tonight look for him to regurgitate the same nonsense. 

docyqx
docyqx

@Burtonboy @ingy56 

ONLY in Toronto would such ANTI Home Team sentiment be accepted in the Media...

anywhere else you wouldn't sell a paper, have a listener or a viewer, you'd be run out of town ....

I still think Leaf's NATION should petition for better broadcasters etc...get rid of the Garbage from MAINSTREAM,

ingy56
ingy56

@Burtonboy @ingy56 I only ever watch it for comic relief but every now and then they get me riled up. 

ingy56
ingy56

@Cameron19 @ingy56 I didn't hear/see it. Just saw on Twitter that he thought it was the kind of trade they should explore. No substance as far as I know.

Jay31
Jay31

@Cameron19 @ingy56 Just thought it was a good idea, but some people started spreading around that it was an actual trade in the works

Dan39
Dan39

@ingy56 @Dan39 I am curious what he drives, though. I'm guessing an SUV, it looks like it rode up the side of that Mustang and impacted the middle more than the bottom like a sportscar might. 

Jordan29
Jordan29

@wiski @Jordan29 @ingy56 Of course. Thats weird because thats my dogs name in my picture and I was like "how the FUCK does he know that"......then woke up and thought about it lol

docyqx
docyqx

@ingy56 

normally I'm cursed by the LEAF's Regional bullshit by Sportsnet, and I have to resort to online streaming........YES, There IS a BLESSING.....NO Kypreos

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@docyqx @Burtonboy @ingy56 For some reason all the Toronto media seem to think they are catering to a national audience and slag the Leafs because of it 

ingy56
ingy56

@docyqx @Burtonboy @ingy56 The best weapon would be to petition the sponsors and let them know about our feelings on the CBC crew in particular. I f advertisers like Tim Horton's knew they faced a potential boycott by Leafs nation you can bet action would be taken. Complaining to the source is like pissing in the wind. 

docyqx
docyqx

@Dan39 

WHY The FUCK would you even think of Reimer in trade...? Insanity ?

and if Anyone wanted Liles right now....they'd have him...

Nice to have negative Nancy attitude tho