New York Islanders (14-22-7) at Toronto Maple Leafs (21-17-5)
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 7, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Toronto Maple Leafs -152 / New York Islanders +138 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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Chalk it up as a Winter Classic hangover if you'd like but the performance put in by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night was an absolute disgrace. Right off the opening faceoff the Maple Leafs generated a quality scoring chance but James van Riemsdyk was denied by New York Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot, and that seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the hockey game. Toronto fell behind 1-0 and then watched as Jonathan Bernier gave up an extremely weak goal later in the period to put the Maple Leafs in a two goal hole. Instead of coming out strong in the second period Toronto was manhandled, surrendering 16 more shots after giving up 18 in the opening period, to go along with three more Rangers goals. Two of the goals for New York were individual plays where the forwards blew past flat footed Maple Leafs defenders. Toronto is really going to need to find a way to upgrade their back end if they want to be a serious playoff contender because it's hard to see guys like Cody Franson and Carl Gunnarsson aren't going to cut it. The Maple Leafs acquired Tim Gleason from the Carolina Hurricanes a few days ago, and expect to see him in the lineup for this one on Tuesday, but he's still not the answer to their woes. The New York Islanders come to town after a typical Islander loss for them on Saturday night. New York fired 40 shots on goal in this one but every time they made a mistake with the puck it ended up in the back of their net. Carolina capitalized on Islanders mistakes three times in the second period and took a 3-1 lead with them into the second intermission. Thomas Vanek scored his 15th goal of the season on the power play in the final minute but it wasn't enough for New York. John Tavares scored his 17th goal of the season in the middle frame. These two teams have a lot of the same problems in their own zone so the key to this game is going to be which team can possess the puck and limit their turnovers. Toronto has to give a better effort in this one in front of their home fans because the one they gave them on Saturday night was completely unacceptable. The Islanders don't mind playing in Toronto but this team always seems to find ways to blow games.