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Maple Leafs seek another strong effort vs. Islanders
(Sports Network) - The Toronto Maple Leafs will attempt to build off an impressive victory in Pittsburgh, as they return home Thursday to battle the New York Islanders at Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs used a strong performance from James van Riemsdyk en route to a 5-2 rout of the Penguins on Wednesday. Van Riemsdyk netted two goals and one assist to spoil the home opener at CONSOL Energy Center.
Van Riemsdyk, the second overall pick of the 2007 draft, was acquired from Philadelphia last June for defenseman Luke Schenn. The former Flyer had gone without a point in his first two games with Toronto before breaking out in Pittsburgh.
"It's always nice when you have a conversation with a player and he comes out and scores two goals and has a three-point night," Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said about his budding star. "It wasn't to criticize the player; he understood it. It's not like he's been terrible, it's just that he needed to step up his game."
Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Tyler Bozak also tallied for the Maple Leafs, who were coming off a 2-1 home loss to Buffalo on Monday.
Nikolai Kulemin added three assists to back a 28-save performance from James Reimer, who was making his first start of the season. Ben Scrivens could be back in net for Toronto on Thursday.
The Maple Leafs were hit with some bad news following Wednesday's win, as forward Joffrey Lupul is expected to miss at least six weeks with a broken forearm. The injury occurred after Lupul was hit with a shot from the stick of teammate Dion Phaneuf.
Lupul, who had a career-high 67 points with Toronto in 2011-12, signed a five- year, $26.25 million contract extension with the Maple Leafs on Jan. 20.
The Islanders have been idle since posting a home win over Tampa Bay on Monday and Thursday's test marks the start of a five-game road trip for the club. New York was 17-19-5 as the road club in 2011-12.
After beginning the season with a 2-1 setback to visiting New Jersey, the Isles were able to post a 4-3 win over the Lightning.
Michael Grabner, Matt Martin and Kyle Okposo all scored during a three-goal second period and New York led 4-0 early in the third period before Tampa mounted a comeback. The Lightning scored three times in a span of 5:38, but New York ultimately was able to hold on for the win.
David Ullstrom also scored and John Tavares notched two assists for the Islanders, who registered their first win of the young season with head coach Jack Capuano back behind the bench. Capuano missed New York's 2-1 loss to New Jersey in Saturday's opener after undergoing surgery to treat a kidney stone.
The Islanders outshot the Lightning by a 44-26 count, with Evgeni Nabokov stopping 23 shots to pick up the win despite surrendering three goals in the third period.
"I thought it was a total team effort today," said Capuano. "I give credit to our guys. We distributed the minutes well today. We matched up well throughout the game. A lot of guys stayed with it, and a lot of guys played key minutes in key roles tonight."
Nabokov has started both games for the Isles over Rick DiPietro and could get the call again on Thursday.
The Maple Leafs won three of four matchups against the Isles in 2011-12 and have taken five of seven overall in this series. Toronto has won five of the last eight encounters at Air Canada Centre.
01/24 11:42:41 ET
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