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Can Leafs Survive The Island?

Saturday, 27.12.2003 / 12:34 PM / News
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Can Leafs Survive The Island?
GAME: 7:00 p.m., CBC -- Toronto Maple Leafs (21-6-6-3) at New York Islanders (16-15-2-1)

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.
Nassau Coliseum hasn't been too kind to Toronto over the last few seasons. With the way the Maple Leafs are playing now, that may not matter.

The Maple Leafs will try to extend their point streak to an NHL-record 17 games when they visit the New York Islanders.

Coming off a two-day holiday break that culminated in a game-day trip to Madison Square Garden, the Maple Leafs pulled out a 6-5 overtime victory over the Rangers on Friday that stretched their point streak to 16 games.

Mats Sundin scored 3:35 into overtime to lift Toronto, which led 4-1 and 5-2 and lost two players to injury.

The Maple Leafs have lost seven of their last eight games on Long Island, including all three during the teams' seven-game, first-round playoff series in 2002.

Still, Toronto is 14-0-1-1 since last losing a regulation game on Nov. 20 at Edmonton, including a 7-0-1 mark away from home.

The run ties the longest in the NHL since the 1999-2000 season, when points were first awarded for overtime losses.

Sundin tied former teammate Steve Thomas with his NHL-record 13th overtime goal. It was his 66th game-winning goal with Toronto and his NHL-best 29th since the start of the 2000-01 season.

The Leafs could enter this game minus three key players. Forward Mikael Renberg returned home to Sweden to tend to undisclosed family issues and is expected to miss three games. The left wing has six goals and seven assists in 27 games this season.

The status of two other Maple Leafs wasn't as clear following the win over the Rangers.

Goalie Trevor Kidd injured his groin when he made a side-to-side move eight minutes into the second period. He was able to finish out the period, but was replaced by Ed Belfour to start the third.

Toronto forward Robert Reichel was hit by Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis as Reichel reached for a loose puck. There was no immediate report as to the nature or severity of Reichel's injury.

The Islanders began life without top center Alexei Yashin on Friday, squandering a three-goal before beating defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey 4-3 in overtime.

Mark Parrish scored 1:25 into the extra session for the Islanders, who will be without Yashin for up to three months after he had two tendons and a nerve in his right forearm sliced by the skate of Philadelphia forward Michal Handzus on Tuesday.

The Islanders have won seven of their last 10 overall (7-2-0-1) to move into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

-- Associated Press

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