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Isles' Matt Martin stays focused in return to Toronto

Fan favorite played just 50 games last season with Maple Leafs

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin sets

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin sets before a face-off against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

TORONTO — For Matt Martin, the special return was coming back to the Islanders.

But Saturday night's 4-0 win by the Islanders at Scotiabank Arena marked his first time playing the Maple Leafs since the Isles re-acquired the fan-favorite fourth-liner on July 3 for goalie prospect Eamon McAdam. Martin, 29, spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with the Islanders before signing a four-year, $10-million deal with Toronto.

He played in only 50 games last season as coach Mike Babcock made him a frequent healthy scratch, and Martin made no secret of the fact that the offseason trade was a welcome one for him.

“It’s not really similar to when I came back [with the Maple Leafs] because I was here a lot,” Martin said of playing his first game back in Toronto. “But it’s the same kind of thing. You just want to go out there and play well and get the win. The personal stuff, you put aside.”

Martin has been a constant in the lineup this season on a reunited line with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck.

Islanders president and GM Lou Lamoriello also made his return to Toronto after three seasons as the Maple Leafs’ GM.

“You look at the job Lou did there, it’s unbelievable from when he first came there, where we were and when he left,” said forward Leo Komarov, who spent his first five NHL seasons with the Maple Leafs before signing a four-year, $12-million deal with the Islanders in the offseason. “I think everyone has good memories of him in Toronto.”

  

Isles files

Right wing Jordan Eberle (upper body) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to last Sunday . . . Michael Dal Colle, the fifth overall pick in 2014, was recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) for his second NHL stint this season. He started on Valtteri Filppula’s third line with Komarov . . . Defenseman Ryan Pulock had two assists . . . Tom Kuhnhackl, Ross Johnston and Luca Sbisa did not dress . . . Bridgeport’s Connor Jones, 28, was suspended two games for an illegal check to the head against Hartford on Thursday.

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