The Toronto Maple Leafs (21-33-11) might not be the best team in the NHL, but at least they play hard. Monday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres (–115 away) made it five straight games that Toronto has lost by a single goal, all since the February 29 trade deadline. Next up for the Leafs is Wednesday’s game (7 PM ET, TSN) against the visiting New York Islanders, who are back in playoff position in the East at 36-20-7.
Toronto has been alternating goalies since the deadline; if the pattern holds, Jonathan Bernier (.897 save percentage) will get the start at the ACC. Bernier hasn’t played as well between the pipes as his new co-pilot, Garret Sparks (.913 SV%). However, the Maple Leafs are starting fresh in front of Bernier with a new crop of blue-chip prospects, including right wing William Nylander (drafted No. 8 overall in 2014) and right wing Kasperi Kapanen (No. 22 in 2014).
The Islanders are 10-2-1 in their last 13 games, but they’ll be playing on zero days of rest Wednesday night after hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. At press time, it’s believed that Jaroslav Halak (.917 SV%) will start both those games for New York.