11/19/2013 12:19 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 18:58 EST

Leafs itching to face John Tavares, Islanders

An injury to Evgeni Nabokov has lifted Kevin Poulin to the top of the depth chart with the New York Islanders.

After Nabokov was placed on IR with a groin injury, Poulin will be in net as the Islanders visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Poulin was the difference for the Islanders (8-10-3) on Saturday after he replaced Nabokov in the first period of a 5-4 shootout win over Detroit.

The Red Wings' Darren Helm skated in on Nabokov before making a move that caused the 38-year-old goalie to do a split. He motioned for a trainer and was assisted in the crease before gingerly skating off the ice while hunched over.

The veteran was playing for the first time in four games and the second in six. Nabokov came in 5-5-3 with a 3.24 goals-against average.

"He means a lot to this team, [to] all of us," Islanders centre John Tavares said. "Not everyone knows how much he does for us in this room.

"He's important."

Poulin came on and stopped 19 of 22 shots before denying Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi in the shootout.

"I love this," the fourth-year player said. "I was not nervous in the shootout, was pretty excited, actually.

"I felt comfortable. You have to be ready to jump in.

"That's why I play hockey."

Frans Nielsen scored in the shootout for the Isles, who had dropped five of their previous six games. Tavares had a goal and an assist to stretch his point and assist streaks to five games.

"Kevin really stepped up for us," Tavares said. "We kept calm and it paid off in the end."

Poulin, who is 3-5-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .909 save percentage, will likely get a bulk of the playing time during Nabokov's absence. The Isles recalled goaltender Anders Nilsson from their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport to fill Nabokov's roster spot.

New York, which hasn't won consecutive games in nearly three weeks, has put up some impressive numbers on its last few trips to Toronto. The Islanders have scored 17 goals in their last three games at Toronto, including a 5-3 win in the most recent meeting April 18.

The Maple Leafs (12-7-1) snapped a three-game losing streak with Saturday's 4-2 victory over Buffalo.

Toronto's acquisition of centre Peter Holland from Anaheim earlier that day paid off immediately. The Maple Leafs placed Holland on the top line between Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, who moved back to his natural spot at left wing and responded with two goals.

"I'm probably a little more comfortable playing there," van Riemsdyk said. "It allows me to do some different things.

"Being in front of the net a lot more often, that's a big part of my game obviously."

Van Riemsdyk, who has spent his entire career on the wing, looked comfortable back on the left side, scoring his eighth and ninth goals of the season in the first period.

The 24-year-old had gone without a point in his previous five games, four at center.

"It's obviously really exciting to be playing with JVR and Phil," Holland said. "Two pretty special players.

"So to step in to the lineup and play with those guys is pretty fun. I thought we created some chances."