New York Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs Pick & Prediction JANUARY 11th 2024

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The Toronto Maple Leafs’ previous visit to Long Island coincided with the New York Islanders’ most successful stretch of the season.

The Islanders are hoping history begins repeating itself Thursday night, when they host the Maple Leafs for the final time this season in Elmont, N.Y.

Both teams were off Wednesday after playing at home Tuesday, when the Islanders fell to the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 and the Maple Leafs continued surging with a 7-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

The loss was the fourth in the last five games (1-3-1) for the Islanders, who have lost eight of 12 (4-5-3) since a season-best four-game winning streak from Dec. 7-13.

The third win in that run was a 4-3 overtime victory over the Maple Leafs in Elmont on Dec. 11, when the visitors overcame a two-goal deficit and tied the score with 6.4 seconds left on a goal by Morgan Rielly.

The primary assist was collected by former Islanders captain John Tavares, who notched his 1,000th point on the goal. Boos rained down as a note about Tavares’ achievement aired on the scoreboard in between the third period and overtime, but New York center Bo Horvat scored just 46 seconds into the extra session.

The Islanders, in the midst of one of their two brief homestands this month, need a similarly dramatic boost after enduring five regulation defeats by at least two goals since Dec. 16. New York never led Saturday, when it closed out a four-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and was outshot 34-20 on Tuesday, when the Canucks took control by scoring twice in the final four minutes of the first.

After hosting the Maple Leafs, the Islanders hit the road for a four-game Western Conference road swing before returning to host the Dallas Stars and the Golden Knights, who entered Wednesday with 51 points apiece.

“Tough schedule, man,” Islanders right winger Julien Gauthier told Newsday. “We’ve got to get as many points as we can before the All-Star Break. That’s our goal.”

Collecting points hasn’t been a problem lately for the Maple Leafs, who tied a season-high by winning their fourth straight game Tuesday. Toronto outscored the Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks 9-2 on a three-game road trip before Tuesday’s rout.

Thirteen players collected at least a point for the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, when Mitch Marner was the lone multi-goal scorer.

The Maple Leafs have trailed just once during their winning streak, which was preceded by a six-game span in which they went 1-4-1, and were outscored 28-18.

“We’ve spent way less time in our zone in this last stretch, way less time,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said, “At times, we get up in games and then we allow teams to score at inopportune times or we put ourselves in a bad spot. But we haven’t made those mistakes. We haven’t been perfect, but we certainly haven’t given (opponents) anything for free.”

–Field Level Media

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