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Gameday Preview

Friday, 12.6.2002 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) -- All attention will be on Darcy Tucker and Mike Peca on Friday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders meet for the first time since last spring's vicious Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Toronto eliminated New York in seven games in a series that is more likely to be remembered for its chippy style of play. The Maple Leafs won the first two games in Toronto but dropped the next two in Long Island, setting up the pivotal fifth game.

After exchanging barbs throughout the first four games, Peca - one of the top two-way forwards in the league - left in the second period of Toronto's 6-3 win with a sprained left knee after being undercut on a check by Tucker.

The check, which did not result in a penalty, infuriated the Islanders and cost them their captain for the rest of the series. Peca required left knee surgery that kept him out until November 14.

Toronto went on to the Eastern Conference finals. The Islanders did not make any significant offseason moves and are off to a slow start.

"I just finished my check," Tucker said following the incident. "I don't know exactly what happened. I went to my bench, sat down and got ready for my next shift."

The Leafs have appeared to recovered from their slow start and have won four in a row and six of seven.

Toronto's latest win was Tuesday's 4-3 overtime thriller over Tampa Bay. Defenseman Karel Pilar scored with 72 seconds left in overtime as the Leafs rallied from a 2-0 deficit New York is slowly recovering from a rough start and is 4-2-2 over its last eight games.

On Tuesday, the Islanders ended Vancouver's 10-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory. Alexei Yashin extended his points streak to nine games by beating defenseman Ed Jovanovski to a rebound with 92 seconds left.

Yashin has three goals and 10 assists since November 14.

A year ago, the Islanders took the regular-season series from the Leafs, 3-1. Peca had six points in the four games.

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