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Game Preview: New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs

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With all eyes on the World Juniors, the Maple Leafs hope to win two in a row versus the youthful New York Islanders.

Dave Sandford/Getty Images

I originally thought this game was in Brooklyn, and had all kinds of Barclays Center jokes so here are some of them: "It's hard to coach the team when you can't see one end of the ice from the bench." "Barclays security still isn't hip to hockey, they had Brendan Shanahan removed from the building for being a Rangers spy." "Something, something, something, hipsters." Okay, it all wasn't gold.

New York Islanders at Toronto Maple Leafs
7:00PM - Air Canada Centre
TV: TSN4 - Radio:TSN1050
SBN: Lighthouse Hockey

Projected Lines

Toronto
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
Daniel Winnik - Peter Holland - Joffrey Lupul
Shawn Matthias - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf
Roman Polak - Martin Marincin

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Injured: Stephane Robidas (lower body), Nick Spaling (upper body), Garret Sparks (lower body), Nathan Horton (back/neck)
Scratched: Frank Corrado

NY Islanders

Brock NelsonMikhail Grabovski - Ryan Strome
Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic
Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey - Marek Zidlicky

Thomas Greiss
C
hristopher Gibson

Injured: Jaroslav Halak (upper body)
Scratched: Brian Strait, Steve Bernier

On Sunday the Maple Leafs visited Brooklyn, tonight the Islanders come to the Leafs' house. Former Leafs Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin come to the ACC, Grabbo acting as the Isles top centre while Tavares could be starting on the third line. Local boy (and former IceDog) Ryan Strome gets some top line time to play in front of family and friends. Christopher Gibson, who was traded to the Islanders during training camp by the Leafs in a package for Michael Grabner, is backing of Tomas Greiss. It would be great for the Maple Leafs to shell Greiss so Gibson gets some ice time tonight.

Bozak is coming into the game with five points in four games, Leo is still scoring with eight points in the past six games. Bernier is playing in wins lately which will help with his confidence. He has his fifth straight start tonight, while Reimer will be back in action tomorrow night versus Pittsburgh.

Not a lot of buzz going on today, most eyes are on the World Juniors. The Leafs could put together two wins in a row tonight and give them four out of the past five games. Not to worry Auston Matthews fans, the Leafs are still in 26th, so their odds are at 9.5% of winning the lottery.

With hockey's focus in Finland, the Leafs have a chance to quietly improve their play and surprise people come the new year with "wait, how'd they win so many games?"