New York Islanders
12-7-7, 31 points
Toronto Maple Leafs
14-6-4, 32 points
•Matt Martin - Upper Body - Injured Reserve
•Ryan Pulock - Lower Body - Injured Reserve
•Sebastian Aho - Upper Body - Injured Reserve
•Adam Pelech - Upper Body - Long Term Injured Reserve
•Timothy Liljegren - High-ankle Sprain - Long Term Injured Reserve
•Mark Giordano - Broken Finger - Injured Reserve
•Joseph Woll - High-ankle Sprain - Injured Reserve
•William Lagesson - Illness
•John Klingberg - Hip - Long-Term Injured Reserve - Out for the Season
•Matt Murray - Hip - Long-Term Injured Reserve - Out for the Season
•Jake Muzzin - Neck - Long-Term Injured Reserve - Out for the Season
•Islanders are coming in hot, scoring 23 goals for to 17 against en route to a 4-0-1 record in their last 5 games
•Ilya Sorokoin (7-4-6, 3.12 GAA, .913 Sv%) will likely start for the Islanders
•GM Lou Lamoriello picked up Robert Bortuzzo off the St. Louis Blues for a 7th round pick; the veteran defenseman joined the battered Islanders blueline on Saturday after 10 years with the Blues.
•The Isles second line of Engvall-Nelson-Palmieri has been coach Lane Lambert's most trusted, and effective line
•"'Tried to think of an interesting storyline that might connect these two teams but nothing immediately springs to mind. Maybe the media will dig some random connection up to make this one interesting.' - Carlton" - herman
•There has been some consternation about the Leafs inability to put games away in regulation, leading to greater wear and tear on the top end of their lineup. The awkward pause in their schedule between the 2nd and 7th of December seems to have rejuvenated the team as they've strung together a handful of solid outings, including 2 regulation victories as part of this 4-0-1 run in the last 5 games.
•Ilya Samsonov (5-1-3, 3.21 GAA, .886 Sv%) is slated to start for the second game in a row after returning from illness, as he looks to build on his first shutout of the season after a rocky start to the season. It's tough being goalie, but its even tougher being one under the Toronto media microscope with a one-year old at home.
•Don't look now, but former Rocket Richard and Hart trophy winner Auston Matthews is heating back up after a few spurts of hat tricks between ice cold blahs. Is it because he's getting back to his roots playing alongside Willy Nylander's brand of forthright zippy offense, or is it because azzurri63 stopped picking him on his Fanduel teams. Whatever the case may be, his 4 goals in the last 3 games pulls him back into a tie for 2nd in league-wide goal scoring with Brock Boeser with 18, just behind Nikita Kucherov's 19.
•The Leafs equally battered blueline has been getting the job done lately, thanks in no small part to the depth guys filling in. Treliving may have swung and missed on most of his higher $lotted signings, but you can tell he has an eye for big, rangy, boringly effective defensemen.