for this game

Maple Leafs take down Islanders

Dec 24, 2011 - 4:48 AM
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - Clarke MacArthur finished with a goal and an assist, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Nazem Kadri, Carl Gunnarsson, Joey Crabb and Joffrey Lupul all lit the lamp, while Tim Connolly added a pair of assists for the Leafs, who have won back- to-back games since dropping three straight.

James Reimer made 30 saves for the victors.

"I think we had a good start to the game," Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said. "When you get a three-goal lead, you try to make the next goal prettier, and we allowed them to get back into the game. It's nice to get a little bit of a cushion and let our team relax and get over some of the bumps and bruises."

Kyle Okposo, John Tavares and Frans Nielsen scored while P.A. Parenteau chipped in with two assists for the Islanders, who have lost two straight.

Evgeni Nabokov was tagged for four goals on 26 shots in the loss.

The Leafs came out on fire and grabbed control of the game early with three tallies in the first period.

The first Toronto goal came just 1:43 into the opening period as Connolly took a pass in the neutral zone, raced into the offensive end and dished to MacArthur, who swooped in and lifted a quick wrister over the right shoulder of Nabokov from the right circle.

Following an ill-advised tripping penalty to Marty Reasoner, the Leafs struck again on the power play at 4:22 of the first stanza. Jake Gardiner fired a slap shot from the right point that was stopped by Nabokov, but he left a big rebound. After Josh Bailey whiffed on a clearing attempt, Kadri picked up the puck and backhanded it into the net for a 2-0 lead.

Sloppy play in the defensive zone resulted in Toronto's third goal, as Tavares had the puck stolen while trying to start a breakout and Connolly fed Gunnarsson, who blasted it through traffic and past Nabokov with 8:45 remaining in the first period for a seemingly comfortable 3-0 margin.

"For the first 10 minutes, I thought we played a pretty good game, but for whatever reason, we were a bit flat," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "After that, we played hard, we finished our checks and started to have some success."

The Isles finally responded at 15:45 when Mike Mottau, holding the puck in his defensive zone, fired a home-run pass through the neutral zone for Okposo that was right on the money, and Okposo cruised to the slot before firing it over the glove of Reimer to pull the Islanders within 3-1.

New York struck again just 40 seconds into the second period on the power play when Parenteau sent a pass from the right circle to Matt Moulson, who fired a shot on net from the left circle that was stopped by Reimer, but Nielsen pounced on the rebound from in close to bring the Islanders within 3-2.

But Toronto came up with an answer to restore its two-goal edge while shorthanded. Crabb poked the puck out to the neutral zone and was off to the races the other way on a 2-on-1 with Tyler Bozak.

Crabb feathered a pass to Bozak, who quickly sent it back and Crabb tapped it into the open net to make it 4-2 at the 8:59 mark of the second period.

Tavares brought his team within one again at 10:30 of the third period when he banged home a wrist shot in the slot off a nice feed from Parenteau behind the net, but Lupul added an empty-netter with 8.9 seconds to play to seal the win for the Maple Leafs.

Game Notes

The Islanders completed their third set of back-to-back games this season. They are 2-1-0 in the second game of back-to-back situations this season...Nielsen ended a 17-game goalless drought...New York went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Toronto converted on its only power play opportunity...The Islanders will battle the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday, while Toronto will travel to Florida to tangle with the Panthers on Tuesday.

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