Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs will play host to the New York Islanders as they search for the fifth straight win to open the season. The Islanders are searching for their first road win of the season and hope to earn it tonight by crashing the Leafs’ winning party. The Leafs’ fifth win of the season last year came November 23rd and was accompanied by eighteen losses in regulation and overtime. J.S. Giguere is back between the posts while Brett Lebda sees his first action of the regular season in place of the shaky Carl Gunnarsson.
Tyler Bozak, who took a Phil Kessel puck to the face at practice yesterday, seems to be fine and will be in the lineup tonight. For the Islanders, Trent Hunter (lower body) and Blake Comeau (foot) are questionable for tonight’s outing. They will also be without Rob Schremp (back – injured reserve), Mark Streit (shoulder – injured reserve) and Kyle Okposo (shoulder – injured reserve).
Perhaps the biggest question mark facing the Islanders this season is consistency in net. A surprisingly healthy Rick DiPietro has received 3 of the first 5 starts, but his numbers are not impressive. He boasts a 3.53 goals against average with a 0.869 save percentage, while Dwayne Roloson presents more impressive figures in the form of a 2.02 goals against average and a 0.929 save percentage.
Both teams head into the match-up leading their division in points. If the Islanders dress Trevor Gillies, we could have a Stash vs. Stash fight tonight starring Mike Brown of the Maple Leafs, though Gillies’ size (6’3″ 215lbs) could suggest a Colton Orr dancing partner is more appropriate.
On November 23, 2009, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 4-3 in overtime to the New York Islanders after Dwayne Roloson turned away 58 shots. Phil Kessel had 12 shots in the game, but could only beat Roloson once during his stunning performance.
If the Islanders believe history can repeat itself, I would expect Roloson to get the start tonight, though word suggests DiPietro gets his fourth start of the year.
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