Islanders-Maple Leafs Preview
Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally won a home game
during the week, they’ll try for another first at the Air Canada
The Maple Leafs look to win two in a row at home for the first
time this season when they face the New York Islanders on Wednesday
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored a pair of goals 28 seconds apart and
added an assist, while Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak each had a
goal with an assist in Toronto’s 5-2 win over Atlanta on
The victory was the Maple Leafs’ first at home on a weekday, and
improved their mark at the Air Canada Centre to 3-7-3. The result
also matched a season high for goals at home for Toronto (9-13-7),
which had lost 3-0 to Buffalo in its previous game there Nov.
“When you score goals like that and they start going in for you,
it’s nice,” Stajan said. “You’re going to win a lot of hockey
games (like that).”
The Maple Leafs have won five of seven overall, but four of
those victories came on the road. Toronto has been outscored 43-28
at home, where it will play seven of its next 10 games.
The Maple Leafs’ 25 points top only Carolina’s 19 for the fewest
in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re just worried about getting a point or two every night,”
coach Ron Wilson said.
Toronto lost 4-3 in overtime at home to New York on Nov. 23,
when the Islanders’ Dwayne Roloson stopped 58 of 61 shots. The last
goalie to make that many saves in a game was Ron Tugnutt, who
stopped 70 shots for the Quebec Nordiques at Boston on March 21,
Roloson appears likely to face Toronto again after resting for
the Islanders’ game Tuesday night.
“To me, it’s just another night, another game,” the 40-year-old
Roloson said of his last meeting with the Maple Leafs. “It doesn’t
matter to me whether it’s one shot or 100 shots, I’ve got to do the
same things, try to give my team a chance to win.”
Stajan had two assists for Toronto in the Nov. 23 loss, and has
two goals with two assists in his last four contests overall.
Ponikarovsky, meanwhile, has 11 goals on the season and five points
in his last three games.
Vesa Toskala started against Roloson on Nov. 23, but left the
game in the second period after suffering a groin injury that kept
him out for four games. He made 22 saves Monday in his first start
since that contest.
Toskala is 3-2-0 with a 3.18 lifetime GAA versus the
With Roloson resting Tuesday, Martin Baron matched a season high
for goals allowed in New York’s 6-2 loss at Philadelphia.
Roloson – 9-3-5 with a 2.76 GAA this season – has won two in a
row against the Maple Leafs to improve to 2-6-0 with a 2.87 GAA
John Tavares, who grew up in suburban Toronto, scored both New
York goals Tuesday as the Islanders (11-12-7) dropped their second
consecutive contest. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft has
13 goals, but was held scoreless against Toronto in his hometown
debut last month.