Isles take on scuffling Leafs

( - The New York Islanders shoot for a third straight victory on Thursday night when they host the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Islanders won the opener of a four-game homestand on Tuesday, besting the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves and Colin McDonald had a goal and an assist.

Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas also scored and Thomas Hickey notched a pair of assists in New York's third victory in four games. The Isles lead the Pittsburgh Penguins by one point for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

"Not everybody had their game tonight, but we found a way to win," said New York coach Jack Capuano.

Well out of the playoff race, the Maple Leafs ended a club-record 11-game losing streak with a win over the Oilers on Saturday, but fell right back into the loss column on Tuesday with a 5-4 setback to the New York Rangers.

Morgan Rielly scored twice in defeat, while Stephane Robidas and Daniel Winnik also tallied. James Reimer allowed all five goals on 39 shots.

"When you're trading chances all game with a team like that it's tough," said Rielly. "You get down early and you wind up playing catch-up and it's a tough way to play."

Forward David Clarkson is expected to return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. His return comes as fellow forward Joffrey Lupul is dealing with an aggravated lower-body injury that will keep him out of a few games.

Though the Islanders have won five of the previous eight meetings, the Leafs won the first of three encounters this season with a 5-2 decision at New York on Oct. 21.

Phil Kessel had two goals, Clarkson tallied once and Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves.

Bernier is 2-1-1 lifetime versus the Islanders with a 3.24 goals against average and .902 save percentage in four career meetings.

Halak allowed all five goals on 23 shots faced, falling to 7-3-3 lifetime in this matchup with a 3.02 GAA and .907 save percentage in 14 games.

The Leafs have won four of their past five trips to Long Island.