After dropping the last two meetings, the Islanders will end their four-game season series against the Maple Leafs tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
What's different since the last time these two teams played, a 2-1 loss on February 22?
Both Radek Martinek and Milan Jurcina will be healthy on the Islanders back end. Martinek returns today after missing seven games. Jurcina, who suffered a groin injury in the first period of the last game against the Maple Leafs, returned Sunday against the Devils after sitting out five games.
The Islanders--who hold the sixth best record in the NHL since Feb 1--have a chance to break the .500 mark under Jack Capuano's tenure. Since Capuano took over, the team is 21-22-7.
Al Montoya gets the nod tonight. His 1.93 GAA leads all NHL goaltenders with at least 10 games played.
Injured goaltender Rick DiPietro worked with goalie coach Sudsie Maharaj this morning, taking shots from Doug Weight (back), Mark Streit (shoulder) and Trevor Gillies (suspension).
He was practicing with an old Cooper HM30 cat-eye cage with an affixed throat protector. It's actually belongs to Detroit goaltender (and former Islander) Chris Osgood, and was shipped straight from Detroit.
Capuano said DiPietro will continue to work with Maharaj over the next few days, after which the team hopes to have some sort of update on him.
Streit has still not been cleared for contact. A couple more weeks he guessed.
Islanders first-round draft pick Nino Niedereitter ('10, 5th overall) was named the WHL's player of the week. Niederreiter picked up nine points (7 goals, 2 assists) over the past four games for the Portland Winterhawks.
Niederreiter has 36 goals and 25 assists in 49 games for Portland this season.
The Islanders are one of many teams scouting Merrimack University's Stephane De Costa, Newsday has learned.
The French forward, a potential Hobey Baker and Hockey East Player of the Year candidate, is an undrafted free agent drawing interest from several teams around the league.
The Islanders have had some luck dipping into the college pool before, signing defenseman Jack Hillen out of Colorado College after his senior season. With their well-documented trouble attracting free agents, this may be an option they pursue with more frequency in the future.