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Bozak healthy, ready to return for Maple Leafs

Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent / Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

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Bozak healthy, ready to return for Maple Leafs

BOSTON -- Just in time for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have center Tyler Bozak back in the lineup.

Bozak, who missed the last two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, will play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"We wouldn't put a player back into this situation unless he was 100-percent healthy," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's told us that he's 100-percent healthy, so we expect him to perform to his capabilities. I'm sure there's players on the Boston hockey club that have bumps and bruises that are not any different. So to sum it all up, he's going to play his role."

Bozak's role will be to center Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, help on special teams and take a vast majority of the Maple Leafs' draws against the Bruins, who led the NHL in faceoff winning percentage this season.

"I think whenever you get an injury you're a little bit weaker at the time, but each day, one day at a time, you get a little bit stronger, and it started to come back," Bozak said. "So I feel pretty good. I took some faceoffs today and it felt fine. The true test will be once you get out there and you're in the game mode. But once the adrenaline kicks in and everything, it should be OK."

Here's the projected lineup for the Maple Leafs:

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Joffrey Lupul - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin

Clarke MacArthur - Nazem Kadri - Matt Frattin

Leo Komarov - Jay McClement - Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Mark Fraser - Cody Franson

John-Michael Liles - Mike Kostka

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Ryan O'Byrne, Joe Colborne, Frazer McLaren, Ryan Hamilton, Jake Gardiner

Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday