|TOR||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
|NYI||0||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (38-32-8) at New York Islanders (35-38-5).
TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT.
Mats Sundin is doing his best to keep the Toronto Maple Leafs' season from ending next week.
The Maple Leafs look to get closer to their seventh straight playoff berth when they visit the New York Islanders.
Sundin had four goals and two assists to lead Toronto to a 6-5 overtime victory over Florida on Tuesday, moving the Maple Leafs within five points of eighth-place Tampa Bay. The Leafs would also have to pass Atlanta, one point ahead in ninth.
Toronto has four games remaining, while the Lightning have three and the Thrashers four. The Leafs haven't missed the playoffs since 1998.
"Mats has been a great leader for us. We are never going to give up," defenseman Tomas Kaberle said. "We got four games left. We'll take them one at a time."
Sundin recorded his second career four-goal game and assisted on Kaberle's goal with 11 seconds left in overtime for the Leafs, 6-0-2 in their last eight.
"We needed that to keep our season alive," said Sundin, whose scored a career-high five goals on March 4, 1992. "You don't get that kind of chance too many times in this league. Tonight was my night, that's for sure."
The Maple Leafs' power play could also be a determining factor in whether Toronto's postseason streak continues. The Leafs, who had a season-high 53 shots on goal Tuesday, scored five times with the man advantage for the second straight game.
Sundin scored a career-high three power-play goals against the Panthers, and has a season-high nine-game point streak with 10 goals and eight assists in that span.
Forward Nik Antropov also scored Tuesday and has three goals and six assists in his last six games.
Jean-Sebastien Aubin continued his strong play for Toronto, making 21 saves in his eighth straight start since being called up from the AHL. Aubin has posted a 2.19 goals-against average as the Leafs have earned 14 of a possible 16 points during those contests.
Aubin helped Toronto earn two points against the Islanders in the teams' last meeting, making 27 saves in a 3-2 win April 5. The Leafs have earned a point in eight of the last 10 matchups with New York.
The Islanders defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night for their second straight win, dealing a blow to the Atlantic Division title hopes of their archrivals.
"When you're already out of the playoffs, you need to find to certain things to motivate you," goalie Rick DiPietro said. "I thought we did a good job of stressing the fact that this is a huge rivalry for us and we owe it to our fans and ourselves to come out and put in a good effort."
DiPietro is 7-2 with a 1.74 GAA since March 2 at Nassau Coliseum.
Miroslav Satan scored two goals Tuesday and has a season-high five-game point streak, with four goals and two assists in that span. Satan has recorded a point in 13 of his last 14 games against Toronto, with eight goals and 17 assists in those contests.
STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 84 points, 4th place, 26 PB, Northeast Division. Islanders - 75 points, 4th place, 25 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Sundin, 27 goals and 71 points; Kaberle, 54 assists; Bryan McCabe, 114 PIM. Islanders - Satan, 33 goals; Mike York, 39 assists; Alexei Yashin, 66 points; Eric Godard, 115 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Maple Leafs - Power play: 21.4 percent (102 for 477), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.7 percent (377 for 473), 24th. Islanders - Power play: 17.4 percent (74 for 424), 21st. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (362 for 456), 25th.
GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Aubin (6-0-2, 1 SO, 2.19 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (10-10-2, 2, 3.00). Islanders - DiPietro (29-24-5, 1, 3.01); Garth Snow (4-11-0, 3.68).
SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 2-0-1.
LAST MEETING: April 5; Maple Leafs, 3-2. At Toronto, Darcy Tucker ended a 16-game scoring drought with two goals, and Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the winner with 2:02 remaining.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 14-20-5 on the road; Islanders - 19-17-2 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|