Isles Begin Final Road Stretch In Toronto

 

The New York Islanders kick of their final stretch of games for the 2013 season against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight. The Isles play their last 5 games of the lockout-shortened season away from Nassau Coliseum. 

The Islanders head in to Toronto 1-0-1 against the Maple Leafs this season. After a huge 7-4 win over the Leafs back in January, the Isles lost 5-4 in overtime against Toronto in February, where Nazeem Kadri tallied his first NHL hat-trick for the Leafs. 

After suffering a 1-0 overtime loss at the hands of the New York Rangers on Saturday night, the Isles came out flying against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday to win their last home game of the season 5-2. 

Now 9-1-2 in their last 12 games, the Isles look to end the third longest playoff drought in the NHL by making the playoff this season . The Islanders currently sit in 7th place with 49 points, 3 points ahead of the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets who are tied for 8th place and 1 point behind the 6th place Ottawa Senators. 

The Toronto Maples Leafs are on a quest of their own where the Stanley Cup Playoffs are concerned. The Leafs currently hold the longest playoff drought in league history, not making the top 8 in the East since 2004. Toronto currently sits in 5th place in the Eastern Conference with 53 points, only 4 points ahead of the Islanders. 

Toronto could actually clinch that elusive playoff berth tonight with a win over the Isles, in addition to the Carolina Hurricanes defeating the Winnipeg Jets in regulation. After an unfamiliar 5-1 loss to the red-hot Washington Capitals on Tuesday night, the Leafs return home to the Air Canada Centre to re-ignite the fire and finally prove that they are truly a playoff team. 

Evgeni Nabakov has been absolutely stellar for the Islanders, yielding two goals or fewer in eight straight starts and just one in each of the last three away from home ice. Look for the Isles to give Nabby the nod tonight as the Maple Leafs will most likely send out James Reimer. 

The puck drops tonight at the Air Canada Centre at 7pm. 

 

 

-T.J. Weber

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