Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/24/13
TORONTO -- New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano gave the Toronto Maple Leafs credit for their fast start in racing to a 3-1 lead after the first period on Thursday night. "I just thought they executed much better. I thought they got in on the forecheck much harder and I think they executed their breakouts much better than we did in the first and they activated real well," Capuano said. "You can say our first period wasn't great, but I give a lot of credit to them and the way they played." But after that, the Islanders took charge and used a four-goal outburst in the third period to defeat the Maple Leafs 7-4 before a crowd of 19,125 at Air Canada Centre. Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson scored two goals each for the Islanders. Keith Aucoin, Mark Streit and Brad Boyes scored the others. Carl Gunnarsson, Mikhail Grabovski, Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin scored for the Maple Leafs. "You can say we didn't have the first period that we wanted, but you have to have to give credit to them." Capuano said. "Their defense joined the rush. They got some great chances, so we had to tighten up our game and we did that in the second and third period." Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was not so impressed with the first period. "The first period was more of a shinny period than hockey," he said. "We managed to get a 3-1 lead out of it. The last seven or eight minutes of the first period was the start of the way we finished the game." The score was tied 3-3 entering the third period, but the Islanders struck quickly. Grabner scored his second goal of the season on a wrist shot from just outside the right faceoff circle to give the Isles a lead at 3:23. Aucoin scored his first of the season at 4:35 from the right faceoff circle. James Reimer replaced Ben Scrivens in the Maple Leafs' goal at that point. "My responsibility is to stop pucks and give the guys a chance," Scrivens said. "I've got back on the ice tomorrow and practice." Moulson notched his second goal of the game -- unassisted -- at 11:20 of the third period. Frattin scored his first of the season at 17:47 to cut the Islanders' lead to two goals. The Leafs came close to cutting the margin to one in the final two minutes, but a review confirmed an officials' decision that a puck had not entered the Islanders goal. The Leafs went on a power play shortly thereafter, but Grabner scored into an empty net to ice the game. "It's a pretty young team," Boyes said. "But we're kind of pulling together and growing together and the mindset is to kind of push and get to the next step and you do get that sense. It's changing the mindset to a winning mindset. That's what guys are trying to do." The Leafs were coming off a 5-2 win on Pittsburgh on Wednesday. "It was the worst game we've played," Carlyle said. "I think we saw one team (Wednesday) night and another team tonight. We were out of it, we were out of sync." "Everyone is the same situation," Toronto defenseman John-Michael Liles said. "It's something that we've got to learn that these back-to-back games with travel in between are not easy and you have to simplify your game in the second half of a back-to-back." After falling behind by two goals in the first period, the Islanders battled back to tie the score in the second period on goals less than 1 1/2 minutes apart while outshooting the Leafs 12-9 in the period. Streit hit on a 29-foot wrist shot on a power play at 11:44, his first goal of the season with assists to Boyes and John Tavares to cut Toronto's lead to a goal. Boyes tied it at 13:10 with his first of the season, assisted by Frans Nielsen and Grabner. Toronto outshot New York 16-9 in the first period to build a 3-1 lead. The Maple Leafs scored at 2:12 of the first period on a slap shot from the left point by Gunnarsson, his first of the season. Fellow defenseman Cody Franson picked up an assist. The Islanders tied it at 8:39 on the first goal of the season by Moulson, who knocked in the puck from close range assisted by Tavares. The Leafs came back with two goals . Kadri picked up his third of the season on a slap shot at 9:44 after Liles' shot wide and the puck bounced back in front. Grabovski scored his second of the season on a wrist shot from the left side at 12:48. The Leafs had a chance to increase the lead in the final minute when they had a power play - and briefly had a 5-on-3 advantage -- but Islanders goalkeeper Evegni Nabakov withstood the storm. "It's huge," Carlyle said. "It usually comes back to haunt you if you don't score on your 5-on-3. At some point in the game, usually the momentum is going to turn in favor of the opposition. They get life from it and it sucks life from your group." NOTES: Toronto forward Joffrey Lupul is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks after suffering a fractured forearm in the second period of Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Penguins at Pittsburgh. ... Frattin was recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League to take Lupul's place. In 21 games with the Marlies, Frattin has nine goals and eight assists. ... Moulson played his 249th consecutive game for the Islanders. The only Islanders to have played more consecutive games in club history were Billy Harris (576), Bob Nystrom (301) and Denis Potvin (262). ... Defensemen Radek Martinek and Thomas Hickey and forward Eric Boulton were Islanders scratches. ... Defensemen Mike Komisarek and Mark Fraser and forward Mike Brown were scratched for the Leafs. ... The Islanders opened a five-game trip with Thursday's game in Toronto and visit Boston to play the Bruins on Friday. ... The Maple Leafs play their next game in New York against the Rangers on Saturday.
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