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New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs preview: The Isles should stay and not go home.

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Not just Tavares, all of them.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Islanders Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Toronto, New York Islanders. Feel free to take a look around the place. We have everything you’d want in New York, just a little less of it. We have museums. We have ferries to islands. We have traffic and jerks on the sidewalks and occasionally we get subway service! We have hot dog carts that are better because ours grill the hot dogs instead of boiling them. We have commuter trains and two airports just like New York does.

What we also have, is an arena that doesn’t hate hockey.

Imagine this, the Toronto Toronto’s (we’ll fix that name) sharing space at the Air Canada Centre with the Maple Leafs. This weekend we saw two high tempo, ice chopping games going on and things were fine for the evening game.

What could make more money than a team in Brooklyn/Queens/Long Island/Hartford/Seattle/Quebec City?

A second team in Toronto.

There are two major media players invested in MLSE, one can take the Leafs, the other the Islanders, and they can split the ACC 50/50. Each has an exclusive team for their sports channels. Beautiful.

The Islanders began their life creeping into Rangers territory and lived for 40 years there, but it’s obvious there’s no permanent home in the Big Apple anymore. Come to Toronto and create another hardcore die hard group of fans like you did on Long Island.

Best part is you’d get 5 “away” games that require literally no travel. None. Money savings right there! another plus, you’d have a built in home town captain right there with John Tavares! Finally, those damn ‘Tavares to Toronto rumors’ will end because he’s here!

Think about it guys, it makes sense.

New York Islanders @ Toronto Maple Leafs
7:30PM - Air Canada Centre
TV: TSN4 / Radio: TSN1050
SBN: Lighthouse Hockey

The mismanaged Islanders meet the Toronto Maple Leafs again, shortly after beating them 6-5 in their (soon to be former) home of Brooklyn. The Islanders also beat the Leafs 5-1 back in October.

Can the Leafs finally get the W against the Islanders tonight? I hope so. I do enjoy watching the Leafs win.

New York Islanders recent games

With new coach Doug Weight at the reins, the Islanders have been 3-1-1 in their past five. Victories over Toronto (6-5 OT), the Flyers (3-1), and Colorado (5-1) and a 5-4 overtime loss to the Hurricanes, and they were shutout by the Senators 3-0.

They’ve played well, and could be a threat to the Leafs again, especially if Toronto takes a lead into the third period.

And with the Isles in town, Lighthouse Hockey may get to update their ‘Complete Encyclopedia of John Tavares telling the Toronto Maple Leafs to get lost’.

Actually, this preview may be an entry.

Toronto Maple Leafs recent games

The Leafs are 2-1-2 in their past five. Losing to the Sabres 3-1 in regulation, St. Louis 2-1 on OT, Islanders 6-5 in OT, but they did beat Boston 6-5 and Dallas 3-1.

The biggest thing that needs to happen for this team is to get into their game for the full 60 minutes. The LEafs are getting outscored early on in too many games recently, putting them at a disadvantage right away. Coach Mike Babcock has noticed this and made the new locker room slogan “Play Fast. Play Right”.

From the linked article:

Going back further, since a five-goal outburst by the Dallas Stars, Toronto has been out-scored 13-6 in the opening period of its past seven starts.

Babcock has put some of that slippage on his staff, as he did in comments after Saturday’s loss and reiterated Monday following practice.

“It’s real important we ask our players to take ownership, so why wouldn’t you as coach or manager do your part?” he said. “It’s like anything, we’re all in this together. When we play well, we all get the credit, and when we play poorly, we all get the blame.”

Hopefully this game starts a new trend for the Leafs. Scoring first, and staying ahead.

Potential Lines

Islanders:

Anders Lee - John Tavares - Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd - Alan Quine - Jason Chimera
Shane Prince - Casey Cizikas - Nikolay Kulemin

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey - Adam Pelech
Calvin de Haan - Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Greiss
Jean-Francois Berube

Maple Leafs:

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitchell Marner
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Connor Brown
Matt Martin - Ben Smith - Josh Leivo

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Frederik Andersen
Curtis McElhinney

Game Preview

- Toronto Islanders
- Toronto Islanders
Record 25-18-11 25-19-10
Division 4th 6th
Conference 8th 10th
League 15th 17th
Goal Differential 165 / 161 = +4 161 / 158 = +3
Power Play 23.3% - 3rd 16.4% - 24th
Penalty Kill 83.2% - 9th 81.5% - 15th
Most Goals Auston Matthews - 25 Anders Lee - 21
Most Points Mitch Marner - 47 John Tavares - 46
Top Goalie Frederik Andersen - .914sv% Thomas Greiss - .922sv%