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Islanders Gameday: Tanks for the Leafs

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The NHL's leading scorer, Evgeni Malkin, has 94 points. The Maple Leafs' leading scorer, ex-Isle Jason Blake, has 51 (22g, 29a). The Islanders' leading scorer, defenseman Mark Streit, has 46 (12g, 34a). Last year's Islanders leading scorer was the dearless departed Mike Comrie, with 49 (21g, 28a).

This season's leaders after Streit: Doug Weight (injured) at 35, then Trent Hunter (injured) at 31. Kyle Okopso is the most prolific healthy forward for the Islanders tonight, at 14-11-25. Throw the Leafs' awful goaltending into the mix, and you have a picture of why these teams are in a tanktastic state.

Nyi-land3_medium             Stpats_medium

New York Islanders (22-37-Tavares) at Toronto Maple Leafs (26-28-Duchene)

7:30 EDT | Air[line of some sort] Centreer | MSG+

Burke's blogging puppets: Pension Plan Puppets

Looking at next year ... In the Islanders' favor: Several young forwards who just might be keepers. In the Leafs' favor: Free agents return their calls. Fortunes can change in a hurry in the capped "new NHL." It will be fun to see how these team's futures look come this time next year, after whatever lottery ball fate is dealt next month. (Alas, maybe after pot-stirrer Mark Herrmann interviews Tavares, JT will sour on this place.)

But since we're still in this year, and this game must be played (It's true! I checked!) ... Brendan Witt returns from suspension tonight. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not sure which Leaf would try to avenge the concussed Niklas Hagman if so inclined. Should things go that way, Joel "The Wrecker" Rechlicz makes a return engagement to add four minutes or so of TOI to the affair. To make room, Joe Callhan and Jesse Joensuu are back in Bridgeport for the playoff push.

Field Trip from PPP?

... Tonight Chris Botta is having his second "Point Blank Night" at Gabrielle’s Brasserie & Wine Bar. If you're not there nabbing free appetizers, you might join the Lighthouse Hockey game thread chat here. There are rumblings of a visit from the merry ribald band of puppets from Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets. Sometimes we SBN bloggers do this to show the quieter blogs [looks in mirror] how the game thread engine hums, and spread general frivolity. Should they venture here, they will impress you with their numbers and mirth -- and ought to make you laugh. Remember, this is all in fun; this game means nothing.

Puppets and Puppeteers, you know I love you. But that was a very expensive vase.