Isles take on scuffling Leafs

( – The New York Islanders shoot for a third straight
victory on Thursday night when they host the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Islanders won the opener of a four-game homestand on Tuesday, besting the
Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves and Colin McDonald had a
goal and an assist.

Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas also scored and Thomas Hickey notched a pair of
assists in New York’s third victory in four games. The Isles lead the
Pittsburgh Penguins by one point for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

“Not everybody had their game tonight, but we found a way to win,” said New
York coach Jack Capuano.

Well out of the playoff race, the Maple Leafs ended a club-record 11-game
losing streak with a win over the Oilers on Saturday, but fell right back into
the loss column on Tuesday with a 5-4 setback to the New York Rangers.

Morgan Rielly scored twice in defeat, while Stephane Robidas and Daniel Winnik
also tallied. James Reimer allowed all five goals on 39 shots.

“When you’re trading chances all game with a team like that it’s tough,” said
Rielly. “You get down early and you wind up playing catch-up and it’s a tough
way to play.”

Forward David Clarkson is expected to return to the lineup after being a
healthy scratch the previous two games. His return comes as fellow forward
Joffrey Lupul is dealing with an aggravated lower-body injury that will keep
him out of a few games.

Though the Islanders have won five of the previous eight meetings, the Leafs
won the first of three encounters this season with a 5-2 decision at New York
on Oct. 21.

Phil Kessel had two goals, Clarkson tallied once and Jonathan Bernier made 34

Bernier is 2-1-1 lifetime versus the Islanders with a 3.24 goals against
average and .902 save percentage in four career meetings.

Halak allowed all five goals on 23 shots faced, falling to 7-3-3 lifetime in
this matchup with a 3.02 GAA and .907 save percentage in 14 games.

The Leafs have won four of their past five trips to Long Island.