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GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (28-28-5) at New York Islanders (28-29-4).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.
Despite trading away several players, the New York Islanders insist they haven't given up on the playoffs this season.
The Islanders will have a new look when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Islanders traded forward Mark Parrish and defenseman Brent Sopel to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday for two prospects, defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, left wing Jeff Tambellini and a conditional third-round pick in this year's draft. The following day, New York sent defenseman Brad Lukowich to the New Jersey Devils for a third-round pick.
Grebeshkov and Tambellini were expected to join the Islanders for practice on Thursday.
The Islanders were tied for 11th place in the Eastern Conference heading into Thursday's games, seven points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot. Mike Milbury, who will give up his role as general manager once a replacement is found, insisted Wednesday his team is still trying for a fourth straight postseason appearance.
"This is a trade made undoubtedly with an eye on the future of our organization, but we're also very comfortable putting Denis and Jeff right into our lineup and still making a run at the playoffs this season," Milbury said.
However, the Islanders have parted with their second-leading goal scorer, Parrish, and dealt two defensemen who were acquired before this season to replace departed defensemen Kenny Jonsson, Adrian Aucoin and Roman Hamrlik.
New York beat New Jersey 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday for its fourth win in six games, with three of those victories coming over the Devils. Parrish scored the tying goal in the third period, and Miroslav Satan and Trent Hunter beat New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur in the shootout.
Satan has scored six times in eight shootouts, and goalie Rick DiPietro improved to 6-3 in the tiebreakers.
"If it was my last game here, I'm glad we wound up putting on a good show," Parrish said.
Coach Brad Shaw said after the game he didn't want to see his team broken up, but knew change was coming with his team currently being out of the playoff picture.
"I'd like to maintain the team we have and see what we can do with it," Shaw said. "I think we needed to be closer than seven points away to realistically keep this team together.
"There were two or three games recently where we didn't show up, and those points would have helped us out a lot."
The Maple Leafs ended a five-game losing streak Tuesday with a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Tomas Kaberle had a goal and a career-best four points for Toronto, which leads the Islanders by one point.
"We all know we have to win a lot more games. This is certainly a start," said Mats Sundin, who scored twice.
The Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Luke Richardson from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday for a conditional draft pick, and sent veteran defenseman Ken Klee to the Devils for minor league forward Aleksander Suglobov.
STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 61 points, 4th place, 26 PB, Northeast Division. Islanders - 60 points, 4th place, 21 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Darcy Tucker, 24 goals; Kaberle, 42 assists; Bryan McCabe, 55 points and 92 PIM. Islanders - Satan, 26 goals; Alexei Yashin and Mike York, 33 assists; Yashin, 51 points; John Erskine, 109 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.1 percent (77 for 383), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80 percent (305 for 381), 24th. Islanders - Power play: 18.2 percent (63 for 346), 11th (tied). Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (297 for 378), 28th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (22-22-3, 3.35 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (6-6-2, 1 SO, 3.01). Islanders - DiPietro (22-17-4, 3.27); Garth Snow (4-9-0, 3.70).
SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 19; Maple Leafs, 9-6. At Toronto, Belfour allowed six goals, but moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 10-16-3 on the road; Islanders - 15-14-2 at home.
|Apr 13 '06||TOR 4 at NYI 3 - OT||M. Stajan|
|Apr 05 '06||NYI 2 at TOR 3||A. Ponikarovsky|
|Mar 10 '06||TOR 1 at NYI 2 - SO||M. Satan|
|Dec 19 '05||NYI 6 at TOR 9||M. Stajan|