Boychuk takes skate to neck vs. Leafs

Toronto's Andreas Johnsson celebrates his goal against Edmonton in the Leafs' win on Wednesday

Toronto's Andreas Johnsson celebrates his goal against Edmonton in the Leafs' win on Wednesday

Nelson got a pass from Jordan Eberle and beat Sparks from the right side for his 20th at 8:41 for New York's sixth straight goal after trailing 1-0 in the first.

Islanders fans weren't happy with center John Tavares in July when he left the team to join the Maple Leafs and it looks like nothing has changed.

Fans didn't just boo whenever he touched the puck, they jeered whenever the guy stepped foot on the ice.

That was during the game.

The fans booed loudly when Tavares and the Maple Leafs hit the ice for pregame warmups, and several times during their skate. Signs papered the glass, disparaging him.

Islanders fans felt betrayed because they expected Tavares to value the opinions of a bunch of strangers over what was ultimately best for him and his career.

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"I don't expect it to be a very welcoming return", he said before the game. That seemed to lead some credence to a pre-game promise from Tavares that he'd block out the noise sent his way: "I mean the game is played between the boards, so I'm just going to go out there and put my skates on like I have my whole life".

Tavares was drafted first overall by the Islanders in 2009 and quickly became the face of the franchise. The face of the franchise for nine years after he was selected No. 1 overall by NY in 2009, Tavares insisted he agonized over his decision to leave before announcing it on July 1, the first day of free agency.

Marincin has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in seven games with the Toronto Marlies, but his deficiencies continue to be exposed when played regularly in the National Hockey League. Otherwise, the beefed-up security brought in by the Islanders kept the off-ice animus within acceptable boundaries. The Islanders gave Tavares a nice tribute video thanking him for his nine years of service during the first period.

"I'm a believer in life you always want to be proud of yourself and how you handle yourself", said Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock.

Then the chants started - first an anatomical description of what they think of his character, then the sing-song of, "We don't need you!" from the fans whose Islanders have shocked everyone and are in first place in the Metropolitan Division. "There's no question they're on top of you and you can hear them and kind of feel like they're breathing down your neck a little bit".

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