Toronto Maple Leafs vs New York Islanders Preview

Walker DanielsCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2011

Phil Kessel
Phil KesselJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

Sports Book Overview

In the wake of the recent Superbowl betting, it may be difficult for NHL enthusiasts to find a good reason to care about a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders. But there are several reasons why the betting services should watch this game closely and care about the game’s outcome.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders are not making the playoffs this season. That much can almost be guaranteed. But as the trade deadline and the end of the season approaches, both of these teams could play significant roles in the futures of other NHL teams through trades, and by being the spoilers at the end of the year.

Maple Leafs

The Leafs are 11 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot with only 30 games left to play. That 11 points becomes much bigger when Toronto loses critical divisional games like the one they just experienced against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Leafs are mired in the same problems they have had for years. Their goaltending is awful and they cannot score goals. The Leafs defense is made up of some hard-hitting talent that could be worth something if they could just learn how to play together. But the rest of the team is in disarray.

The main trade talks surrounding the Leafs center on Tomas Kaberle. It is hard to tell if the Leafs want to get rid of Kaberle, or if Kaberle wants to get rid of the Leafs.

This is the second or third year in a row where Kaberle’s name has come up at the trade deadline. He is one of those hard-hitting defensemen that the Leafs have, and he has 30 assists this season. If the Leafs get rid of Kaberle, the bottom will completely fall out of their season.

New York

Hockey fans all over the world were wondering why the Islanders signed goaltender Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract, and now the Islanders are starting to wonder that themselves. Dipietro has had a rash of injuries since he signed his big contract a couple of years ago, and when he is in the net he is not playing well at all.

Dipietro is 1-4 in his last five starts, and his failures this season are a thumbnail sketch of the Islanders' team problems all season long.

The Islanders are also having problems on offense. The top point-getter on New York is John Tavares with 18 goals and 21 assists. Second place scorer Matt Moulson has 18 goals as well, but he only has 12 assists. The Islanders just cannot generate enough offense to win the games they need to win in order to climb out of the Eastern Conference basement.

The Bottom Line

When the Leafs want to, they can put up a good fight against any team. They may not be able to beat many teams in the NHL, but they can stay in the game for quite a while. The Islanders show no ability to compete at any level. They have no toughness up front, they have no consistent scoring threat and they lack quality goaltending.

Pick: Toronto Maple Leafs