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Islanders Gameday News: Time for another reset as Leafs visit

Awaiting news on Casey Cizikas’ status as the slumping Islanders host the Leafs.

NHL: DEC 11 Maple Leafs at Islanders
When we last met...
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Islanders’ latest opportunity for angst and frustration comes tonight as the Toronto Maple Leafs and their latest $11 million man roll on to Long Island.

Toronto’s Ilya The Lesser, Samsonov, is back with the NHL squad after struggling so much he was “assigned” to the AHL team while doing a “mental reset” and not actually joining that squad, but he is set to be the backup to Martin Jones tonight.

William Nylander, fresh off the contract whose negotiations we’ve heard breathlessly about for a year, continues his UFA year tear, while the Leafs overall are third in the Atlantic, trailing the hotter Bruins and Panthers.

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.

The Islanders had yesterday off, so no Casey Cizikas update until this morning’s skate.

Islanders News

Previewing tonight: It’s Star Wars night. After slumping to end 2023, the Leafs have started 2024 on a roll. [Isles]

With Semyon Varlamov out, Ken Appleby is just trying to appreciate this time with the NHL club and being around Ilya Sorokin. [Isles]

If Ruslan Iskhakov keeps this up in Bridgeport...:

  • The PWHL New York team wore Islanders jerseys as they entered UBS Arena for their game Wednesday night. [NHL]
  • It was a loss (to Montreal), but people are optimistic about what’s being started here (and in Brideport, their other home for this first season). [Post]

Bryan Trottier dropped the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff:

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores include

  • Martin Jones, of all people, has helped steady the Leafs’ defensive concerns. Facing a few soft opponents have helped. [NHL]
  • Though Samsonov is back with the Leafs, when or if he’ll play again is unclear. [TSN]
  • Matthew Knies is an injury concern but has not been ruled out of tonight’s game. [TSN]
  • Cutter Gauthier has endured a tough week, with online harassment and death threats after it came out that he didn’t want to be a Flyer (who among us has not...), but he’s excited to likely join the Ducks after his NCAA season. [NHL]
  • Meanwhile, his trade counterpart Jamie Drysdale had an assist in his Flyers debut. [NHL]
  • And John Tortorella took the opportunity in his post-game to lash out at the reporter/podcaster who said “Kevin Hayes’ fingerprints are all over” Gauthier’s request, hedging that sources said he “either had direct impact” OR “it was very possible that he did.” [TSN]
  • Anaheim claimed former Wing Gustav Lindstrom off waivers from the Canadiens. [TSN]
  • And updating previous rumors, the Ducks are said to be “not shopping” Trevor Zegras (who’s now injured) but just “listening” and stuff. [TSN]