Pregame 2/27/14: Islanders vs. Maple Leafs

The Islanders return from the Olympic break as they continue a 5 game home stand hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nassau Coliseum. The most notable change entering play tonight is no John Tavares who suffered a season ending knee injury while playing for Team Canada. For the game itself, this is the third and final meeting of the season between the two teams as it is the Maple Leafs lone visit to Long Island this season.  Each team won a game each in Toronto earlier this season.

What to Know About the Islanders Post Olympic Break

The season ending injury to Tavares led to disappointment but the games must go on. Also on the injury report is Frans Nielsen who was placed on injured reserved due to a broken hand and Matt Martin who is dealing with a lower body injury. On the roster recalled from Bridgeport are Ryan Strome, Anders Lee, and Mike Halmo who is the Sound Tigers top line. The trio have led the Sound Tigers to six straight wins and 11-of-13 overall.

The trade deadline is approaching fast and names to keep an eye on for the Islanders to be moved remain the same as Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald could be dealt in the next week. Both players turned down contract extensions earlier this month from the team. General Manager Garth Snow is looking to get some value for both of these players.

Last Time Out

Islanders (22-30-8); 52 points, last in Metropolitan: Lost 5-2 on February 8th at home against the Colorado Avalanche.

Maple Leafs (32-22-6); 70 points, 4th in Atlantic: On February 8th they defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 at home. Overall they have won 4 of their last 5 games.

Key Opposing Players

Forwards

Phil Kessel

James van Riemsdyk

Joffrey Lupul

Defensemen

Dion Phaneuf

Cody Franson

Goaltender

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Islanders Key to Victory

The final stretch of the season the Islanders need to come out and play with momentum. With the disappointing news about Tavares they need to remain focused on the task at hand. Hockey is a team sport and it needs more than one individual to succeed so this is a time for multiple assets to step up and bring the team some excitement for the final stretch of games this season.

 

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG Plus and on the radio at 88.7 FM or 103.9 FM.

 

-John Santamaria

Follow me @JSantamariaNY and follow us @TCLIsles