Final

Series (Game 3 of 4)

New York leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, November 23rd
Islanders4Final
OT
Maple Leafs3
Game 2: Wednesday, December 9th
Islanders2Final
Maple Leafs3
Game 3: Wednesday, December 23rd
Maple Leafs1Final
Islanders3
Game 4: Sunday, March 14th
Maple Leafs1Final
Islanders4

Maple Leafs 1

(13-17-8, 34 pts)

Islanders 3

(14-17-7, 35 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 23, 2009

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
TOR 0 0 11
NYI 0 2 13

J. Tavares (Islanders - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Roloson (Islanders - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .963

N. Hagman (Maple Leafs - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Maple Leafs-Islanders Preview

STATS LLC

A young team combined with a struggling offense is not the best recipe for winning. Adding dismal play on special teams makes it a nearly impossible task.

The punchless New York Islanders look to avoid a fourth straight loss overall and fifth in a row at home Wednesday night when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs.

After ranking 29th in the league last season with 2.41 goals per game, more of the same was expected from the Islanders (13-17-7) in 2009-10, after they failed to add any scoring in the offseason outside of top overall draft pick John Tavares.

While Tavares has been as good as advertised with 15 goals -- tops among rookies -- only Matt Moulson is also in double digits (15) and New York again ranks 29th with an average of 2.41 goals. A power play that has converted once in 23 opportunities over the past five games has contributed little to an offense that has scored two goals or fewer in seven of the last eight contests.

Shut out by Montreal in their previous game, the Islanders allowed three unanswered goals Monday night in a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay. Trent Hunter and Nate Thompson scored for New York, which has been outscored 19-5 during its four-game home skid.

The Islanders also allowed two more power-play goals in the loss. They've surrendered 16 on 35 chances over the last nine games.

"Special teams, again. It's kind of a broken record," Thompson said. "We just needed to bear down in the third period, the game's tied. But we didn't execute."

The offensive woes have also affected the 19-year-old Tavares, who has gone six games without a goal and five games without a point -- both season highs. Forward Kyle Okposo, 21, is third on the team with 23 points but hasn't scored a goal in 17 games.

With Martin Biron having lost his last five starts, Dwayne Roloson figures to get the call against the Maple Leafs for the third time this season and first at home. Roloson made a career and NHL season-high 58 saves in a 4-3 overtime victory Nov. 23 in Toronto, and stopped 32 shots in a 3-2 loss Dec. 9.

Second-period goals from rookie Viktor Stalberg and Ian White gave Toronto a 2-1 lead against Buffalo on Monday, but Jochen Hecht scored the equalizer in the third and Derek Roy's overtime goal sent the Leafs (13-16-8) to their third loss in four games.

Toronto has been outscored 17-6 during a three-game road skid, but has dominated the recent series against New York with a 10-3-5 record since the start of 2005-06.

Having gone three straight games without a point, there's few opponents Toronto's Phil Kessel would rather see than the Islanders. He has seven goals and three assists in his last six games against New York.

Stalberg, who has two goals in three games since he was recalled from the AHL, will not play Wednesday due to an upper-body injury.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNNewYork.com