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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, November 19th (All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (8-10-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (12-7-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders try to win consecutive games for only the second time this season when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for Tuesday's battle at Air Canada Centre.
The Islanders last won back-to-back outings on Nov. 1 and 2 against Ottawa and Boston, respectively. New York is coming off Saturday's home shootout victory over Detroit, although that win did come at a cost as goaltender Evgeni Nabokov suffered a groin injury early in the affair.
Nabokov had sat out the previous three games before returning to action on Saturday against the Red Wings. His return didn't last long, however, as the 38-year-old veteran left 4:12 into the game after facing only one shot. Nabokov was placed on injured reserve on Monday and could miss a month of action or more.
Kevin Poulin, who is 2-1-0 in his last three decisions, stopped 19-of-22 shots through overtime in his relief effort on Saturday. He also turned aside Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi in the shootout phase to seal the 5-4 triumph for the Isles.
"He battles hard, he competes really hard," Islanders captain John Tavares said about Poulin. "He's a confident guy and did a great job obviously in the shootout."
With Nabokov on the shelf, Poulin will assume the starter's role. The Islanders also recalled netminder Anders Nilsson from their American Hockey League affiliate in Bridgeport to serve in a backup role.
Frans Nielsen scored the lone shootout goal on Saturday, while Tavares registered a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who once again played without winger Thomas Vanek.
The Austrian forward has missed the past four games after playing in just six games with New York following a trade with Buffalo last month. Vanek, who has five goals and seven assists in 19 total games this season, is questionable for tonight's contest.
Saturday's win allowed New York to complete a three-game homestand with a 2-1-0 record. The club will play its next three on the road and is just 3-6-0 as the guest this season.
The Isles have won three straight and four of their last six games in Toronto. New York has claimed three of four overall in this series. The Maple Leafs, however, are boasting a strong 7-2-0 mark on home ice this season and are beginning a four-game stay at the ACC tonight.
Toronto also is after a second straight win on Tuesday. The club dropped three in a row before ending the slump with Saturday's 4-2 win over visiting Buffalo.
James van Riemsdyk scored twice to lift the Maple Leafs to a win Saturday in the back end of a home-and-home series with the Sabres. Mason Raymond posted a goal and an assist while Nikolai Kulemin also scored for Toronto. James Reimer posted 33 saves in the victory.
Reimer is 4-2-1 with a 3.43 goals against average in his career against the Islanders. Fellow Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier has never faced the Isles.
Toronto's Phil Kessel is questionable for Tuesday's contest after the star winger sat out practice on Monday with a bout of the flu. Kessel is leading Toronto this season in both goals (10) and points (19).
Meanwhile, Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak returned to practice Monday for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury on Oct. 25. Bozak is eligible to come off the injured reserve on Thursday, but it's unclear if he will be able to play in Toronto's game that night against Nashville.
11/19 10:58:53 ET