The struggling Islanders take on a red-hot Maple Leafs team to wrap up Week 6.
Saturday was a special day for the New York Islanders: they were finally able to celebrate their first-ever game at UBS Arena. It was historic and the Islanders finally have a place they can call home, but the game itself wasn’t pretty.
The Calgary Flames, one of the best teams in the NHL, won the first game played at the new arena, a dominating 5-2 win.
The Islanders aren’t in a great place right now. Most of the players slumping combined with a long-term injury to star defenseman Ryan Pulock as well COVID-19 ravaging the roster doesn’t make for pretty results.
The Islanders are currently on a five-game losing streak and don’t have much of a break in their schedule to recoup and recover.
Their second game in as many days, as well as their second-ever at UBS, will be against the incredibly dangerous Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs got off to a slow start to the season, but have been one of the best and hottest teams in the league over the past few weeks. They’ve been great in all situations and beating them is no easy task.
The only good news for the Islanders is that the Maple Leafs come into this game having lost their most recent matchup, a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Islanders have had trouble scoring as well as preventing the other team from scoring. They give up a lot of goals, a recipe for disaster against such a star-studded lineup as Toronto’s.
As if the Islanders needed more bad news: it was revealed early on Sunday that at least one more player has been added to the COVID-19 protocol.
It looks like LW Anatolii Golyshev will make his NHL debut, just one night after the Islanders team and fanbase welcomed defensemen Grant Hutton and Robin Salo to the show.
Fans will have some mixed emotions in this game: former captain John Tavares will visit the new arena for the first time.
There’s going to be a lot going in this big game. Because so many players are out, the Islanders’ regulars and top-tier players will have to step up. A win is unlikely, but never count the Isles out.
Maple Leafs players to watch:
G Jack Campbell
This season: 16 GP, .944 SV%, 1.66 GAA
RW Mitch Marner
Career vs. NYI: 10 GP, 4 G (10 PTS)
C Auston Matthews
This season: 16 GP, 7 G (4 PP), 15 PTS
Career vs. NYI: 11 GP, 7 G (1 PP), 11 PTS
C William Nylander
This season: 19 GP, 7 G (3 PP), 16 PTS
C Jason Spezza
Career vs. NYI: 41 GP, 17 G (8 PP), 41 PTS
C John Tavares
This season: 18 GP, 8 G (2 PP), 16 PTS
Islanders player to watch:
C Mathew Barzal
Career vs. TOR: 8 GP, 5 G (4 PP), 9 PTS