Toronto at NY Islanders
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
The New York Islanders have had an up-and-coming roster for a while. Those pieces appear to finally be fitting together as the surging Islanders host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday in search of their fifth win in six games to open the season. New York is coming off its first loss of the season - a 3-1 road setback in Pittsburgh - while the Maple Leafs are looking to rebound after dropping both ends of a home-and-home set with rival Detroit.
The key to the Islanders' early success has been goal-scoring. New York comes into a new week tied with San Jose and Montreal for the second-most tallies on the campaign, led by superstar center John Tavares (two goals, seven assists), 2010 first-round pick Brock Nelson (four, four) and recent blue-line acquisition Johnny Boychuk (two, four). Goals have been hard to come by for Toronto, which tallied just once against the Red Wings.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN4 (Toronto), MSG Plus2 (New York)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (2-3-1): If Toronto fans are looking for positives to take from the opening six games of the season, the penalty kill is a big one. The Maple Leafs consistently have been one of the league's worst teams while short-handed - ranking 28th or worse every full season since 2007-08 - but come into the week ranked a respectable 13th at 86.4 percent. "The bottom line is, it's not just system," captain Dion Phaneuf told reporters. "It takes hard work, it takes sacrifice by blocking shots, and we've done that so far."
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (4-1-0): A player with which the Maple Leafs are quite familiar won't be facing his former team Tuesday. Veteran forward Mikhail Grabovski will miss the game after suffering a concussion on a hit from San Jose's John Scott in last week's 4-3 shootout win over the Sharks. Grabovski, who spent four seasons with Toronto before being cut loose after the 2012-13 campaign, passed concussion-testing following the Sharks game but woke up Friday with symptoms and was shut down as a result.
1. The Islanders won two of the three meetings last season.
2. The winning club has scored at least five goals in seven straight encounters.
3. New York enters the week ranked fifth in the league on the power play, converting at a 28.6 percent rate.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Maple Leafs 3
Stats and Records