Anders Lee took over as the Islanders’ captain after John Tavares became a Leaf. Lee has all the qualities, leading the Isles on and off the ice. He’s tops on the team in goals with 21 and has missed just three games in the last three seasons. Tavares, who leads the Leafs with 35 goals, will be playing in Uniondale for the first time since the move.
NEED TO KNOW
The Islanders remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division, which most observers wouldn’t have bet on back in September. Barry Trotz is seen as the front-runner for the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year … Credit also goes to former Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello, who has changed the culture for the better in a short time. Lamoriello also asked fans to show decorum for Tavares’ return, with emotions still raw after his departure as a free agent … The Islanders lost twice in a week to the Western Conference leaders, the Calgary Flames, and are 1-2-1 in their last four … Veteran winger Andrew Ladd (lower body) is back from injured reserve, on a line with Matt Barzal and former Leaf Leo Komarov.
Saturday vs. Buffalo Sabres, 7 p.m.
Mark Zwolinski is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol