We’re minutes away from puck drop as the Toronto Maple Leafs welcome the New York Islanders to the Air Canada Centre for their second meeting of the season. The Leafs beat the Islanders 5-2 on the strength of Trevor Smith’s three points and Jonathan Bernier’s 35 saves on November 19.
This time around, Smith is injured, but the Leafs will have two key centres who weren’t dressed for that game back in action: Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri. Bernier will also be back in net for the sixth straight game.
The Isles were once again scrambling for goaltending help when they lost starter Evgeni Nabokov to injury in last night’s 7-3 win over the Dallas Stars. Backup Kevin Poulin will bring his .891 save percentage into the game tonight, and he’ll be backed up by AHL call-up Anders Nilsson. He has a .873 save percentage in five NHL games.
This could be the game for the likes of Kadri, Joffrey Lupul, Mason Raymond and Nikolai Kulemin to break out of their scoring doldrums. Unfortunately, David Clarkson won’t get that same opportunity, as he injured his foot in Saturday night’s loss to the New York Rangers. Jerry D’Amigo will likely take his spot on the third line, and Frazer McLaren will probably play in his 21st game of the season and his first since December 16.
Here’s the latest on the lineups as game time approaches. First the Leafs:
And the Isles:
We’ll update you in the comments below as we learn more. Also, check the Twitters:
What are your predictions for the game? I think the Leafs are poised to break out offensively, and the Isles are playing some really good hockey right now. I’m gonna say 5-4 Leafs in regulation with Kadri and Lupul each picking up multiple points.
GO LEAFS GO!