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Game Day Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (1-2-0-0) at New York Rangers (1-2-0-0).

TIME: Tuesday, October 15, 7 p.m. (ET).

Pavel Bure is expected to make his season debut when the New York Rangers welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to Madison Square Garden.

Despite having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee two weeks before the season, Bure was expected to be ready for the opener against Carolina. However, strep throat sidelined the 'Russian Rocket' for the first three games. Clearly, the Rangers aren't the same team without their talented right wing.

After beating Carolina 4-1 to start the season, the Rangers scored just one goal in losing to Montreal and Pittsburgh. Bure, who had 418 goals and 749 points in his first 11 seasons, is expected to be the Rangers' top goal scorer.

Shayne Corson will be looking to get his line going tonight in the Big Apple.
Graig Abel Photography
Without him, they have struggled at even strength and have been anemic on the power play, mustering just one goal in 18 chances.

However, Bure participated in Monday's practice and is expected to play. The Rangers will also get Eric Lindros back in the lineup following his one-game suspension for a high-sticking incident against Montreal. In addition, backup goalie Dan Blackburn, who suffered a dislocated left ring finger during Saturday's pre-game warmups in Pittsburgh, also practiced on Monday and has been cleared to return to action.

So despite the slow start, the Rangers are getting everyone healthy and are just one solid effort away from getting something started.

"You don't start panicking three games into the season," forward Matthew Barnaby said after a 6-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. "If you start thinking panic now, you're in the wrong business."

Thought of by many as the class of the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs were dealt a minor blow on Saturday when goaltender Ed Belfour went down with an infected right thumb. Trevor Kidd has been inconsistent in his place, making 33 saves in a 2-1 loss to Ottawa on Saturday and just 17 in a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.

Belfour is expected to be out until the weekend.

Mats Sundin hopes to continue his torrid start. The Swedish center scored the 400th goal of his career in Monday's loss and has six points in three games.

STANDINGS: Maple Leafs - 2 points, 2nd place (tied), 2 PB, Northeast Division. Rangers - 2 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Sundin and Alexander Mogilny, 3 goals; Darcy Tucker, 5 assists; Sundin and Tucker, 6 points; Nik Antropov, 10 PIM. Rangers - Petr Nedved and Mark Messier, 2 goals; Eric Lindros, Tom Poti and Brian Leetch, 2 assists; five tied with 2 points; Matthew Barnaby, 19 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 13): Maple Leafs - Power play: 18.8 percent (3 for 16), 13th in NHL (tied). Penalty killing: 89.5 percent (17 for 19), 13th.

Rangers - Power play: 5.6 percent (1 for 18), 27th. Penalty killing: 91.3 percent (21 for 23), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Kidd (0-2-0, 3.53 GAA); Mikael Tellqvist (no appearances). Rangers - Mike Richter (1-2-0, 3.35); Blackburn (no appearances).

2001-02 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 3-1. Toronto scored 17 goals against New York in its three wins, including 10 in a home-and-home sweep on Dec. 6 and 8.

LAST MEETING: April 10; Maple Leafs, 7-2. At New York, Sundin scored his 40th goal and Tucker and Cory Cross each added a pair as the Maple Leafs clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 1-0-0-0 on the road; Rangers - 0-1-0-0 at home.
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