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Recap - Toronto Maple Leafs 5, New York Islanders 2: Leafs gonna Leaf

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Things started off on the wrong foot, so the Isles spent 60 minutes chasing but never catching the sharp shooters from Toronto.

Your conquerors, now featuring Trevor Smith.
Your conquerors, now featuring Trevor Smith.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

The New York islanders got the physical confrontations they were expecting, with Matt Carkner and Eric Boulton each engaging in fights with the Maple Leafs' surplus line of ruffians and a bonus final-horn scrum to boot.

Meanwhile, Phil Kessel lit them up with two snipes and Carkner went into Sunday drive mode on the key goal that gave the Maple Leafs a 3-1 lead in an otherwise close game. That goal came at 3:39 of the third and undid the morale boost that Casey Cizikas' inspired breakaway goal had salvaged with 11 seconds left in the second.

The Isles never got back to within one after that, and the Leafs walked away with things for a 5-2 win. Michael Grabner watched from the pressbox.

Game Sum | Event Sum | Adv. Stats (Extra Skater) | Shift Charts | PBP | TOI | Faceoffs | Recaps: NHL | Isles |

It was Mason Raymond's goal that made things ominous at 3-1, so 10 minutes later it seemed only inevitable that in accordance with the prophecies David Clarkson, in need of his first goal as a Leaf, found it against the Islanders.

Frans Nielsen's late goal brought it back to 4-2 with five minutes left and Kyle Okposo made one inspired push to try to will a third, but the Islanders were victimized on the pinch for a 2-on-1 where Kessel beat Kevin Poulin near post for his second goal.

The Leafs opened scoring with a misplay and a good bounce for ex-Isle -- of course -- Trevor Smith to score just 22 seconds into the game. So the Isles played behind the whole game, but even still: The Leafs won despite being outshot 37-24, because that's what they do. The Isles lost despite outshooting a team and owning a decent share of pressure and zone time, because that's what they do.

Game Highlights


Notes
  • At 8-11-3 and now entering the second quarter of the season, it's possible Michael Grabner isn't the problem.
  • On the third goal there was a bit of a messed up line change, and Aaron Ness was pursuing back after a pinch (but he caught back up with the play), but my Bossy if Carkner doesn't give up the blueline, lose sight of the puck at the blueline, or actually make his way back toward the goal with some pace, maybe it doesn't happen. Carkner gets done what he can with the toolbox he has, but in those instances his lack of agility and speed is on full, painful display.
  • Kevin Poulin wasn't awful or anything, and was left out to dry a couple of times, but: five goals on 24 shots, four at even strength.
  • On the Leafs goals, there were generally a few mistakes at play. They all came with space and/or shooting room conceded too easily.
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard saw lots of time on the first line, with Brock Nelson -- who had seven shots on goal in the previous game -- moving down.
  • Whatever good there was in this game, whatever injuries (and self-inflicted scratches) altered the equation, the Islanders played a team missing its top three centers. That shouldn't equal a 5-2 loss.
  • Going back to the Ottawa game, the Isles have won just four of their last 10, just two in regulation.

Up next, the Islanders have a back-to-back tour of Pennsylvania this weekend.

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