UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 08: Milan Jurcina #27 of the New York Islanders hits Tim Brent #37 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period at the Nassau Coliseum on March 8, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Yes, Jonas Gustavsson is starting in net, and yes, the New York Islanders have won three games in a row heading into tonight, but let's face it: they're still the New York Islanders, and the Leafs are facing them at the ACC. After a disappointing loss against the Habs, this is the perfect rebound opportunity. Even with those three consecutive wins, the Islanders are still just one point out of last place in the Eastern Conference.
Two wins tonight and tomorrow would put the Leafs back in the playoff picture, and all will be well in Leafland. Let's keep our chins up, heads on swivels, and sticks on the ice. Let's have a little optimism!
The lines for both teams, as per James Mirtle, are expected to look thusly:
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel
Lombardi - Connolly - Kadri
Crabb - Grabovski - Kulemin
MacArthur - Steckel - Brown
Phaneuf - Schenn
Gardiner - Franson
Gunnarsson - Komisarek
Isles lineup (based on last game)
Okposo - Tavares - Moulson
Grabner - Nielsen - Parenteau
Rolston - Bailey - Martin
Pandolfo - Wallace - Niederreiter
Jurcina - Streit
Hamonic - MacDonald
Eaton - Reese
John Tavares has a 12-game, 13-point streak going, is going to have to be silenced tonight, so let's hope that the PK remains perfect, and the Leafs' defensemen are ready for him. Other notable contributors of late among the Islanders have been Kyle Okposo (11 pts. in 12 games), and Evgeni Nabokov (5-1-0, 1.32 GAA) though I'm not so worried about facing Nabby.
GO LEAFS GO