Toronto Maple Leafs vs New York Islanders: 7:00pm
Watch on: CBC (Hockey Night in Canada)
Opponent’s site: Lighthouse Hockey
Tonight the Leafs will look to keep their nine-game point steak alive as they face the New York Islanders on home ice.
The Leafs have gotten* into a bit of a bad habit of having a minimum of one (1) disastrously bad period per game which was evident in Thursday’s game against the Jets and – despite all the wins and aforementioned point streak – is definitely going to bite them in the ass at some point. I’m not sure what the real fix is for that though, or if it’s even something that can be fixed all at once. Maybe they could have the replacement for “It’s a privilege, not a right” in the locker room read “A hockey game is 60 minutes”? On the other hand, if William Nylander decides to keep shooting at 20%, it might not even matter.
*for the last 1-2 years
The last time the Leafs faced the New York Islanders was on November 13th, when they lost 5-4 with a particularly grim showing from our special teams. The Leafs are also 1-3-0 in their last four games against the Islanders which I’m sure Isles fans are enjoying for their own Narrative™ but personally isn’t my favourite fun fact. The good news? This was all pre-Keefe and since the coaching change has solved all of our problems, that’s all the thought we have to give to the past.
Ok, ok, some actual information: the Islanders’ penalty kill is 11th in the league (81.3%) and has gone 11-for-11 through their last four games while the Leafs are sitting at 26th (75.4%). However, if you pick some incredibly arbitrary date like say, November 20th, to measure from instead, the Leafs PK is sitting at 79.5%, and is accompanied by a league-best powerplay of 36.6% during that time period. This does bode well for the Leafs’ chances of ending the Islanders’ penalty kill streak but either way, hopefully we won’t be looking at the same sort of special teams disaster we saw the last time we faced the Islanders.
Also, Michael Hutchinson will be starting in net, which means the Leafs will need to be a bit sharper defensively as well:
Sheldon Keefe said #Leafs wanted to get some rest in for Freddie Andersen, and said if they didn’t get Hutch a start, it would be a long time between games. No back-to-backs for Toronto in January.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) January 4, 2020
Maple Leafs Lines
Based on game vs Jets
Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Kasperi Kapanen
Mason Marchment - Adam Brooks - Frederik Gauthier
Scratched: Dmytro Timashov
Injured: Andreas Johnsson, Illya Mikheyev, Trevor Moore
New York Islanders Lines
From Daily Faceoff