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Game Day Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Colorado Avalanche (18-14-10-5) at Toronto Maple Leafs (25-19-4-1).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

Already without star center Joe Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche may be missing another key player when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

After finding out that Sakic would be out two-to-four weeks with a broken foot, the Avalanche lost defenseman Derek Morris to a blowout fracture of the right eye during Thursday's 5-0 home win over Columbus.

Morris, who leads the Avalanche in penalty minutes with 52, will likely require minor surgery on the eye. He suffered the injury after absorbing a punch from Columbus' David Ling.

"He's a big, big part of this team," Colorado defenseman Rob Blake said.

"We're hoping that everything goes good and he'll be back here soon." Making matters worse, Avalanche forward Serge Aubin left the arena on crutches Thursday with a bruised right foot. Both he and Morris will be out indefinitely.

Colorado recalled defenseman Bryan Muir from Hershey of the AHL to help fill the void left by Morris.

"It'll be a loss," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "We didn't have Joe (against Columbus) and if we have to deal without Derek for a while, we'll deal without Derek for a while." The Avalanche snapped a five-game home winless skid with Thursday's win as Patrick Roy made 18 saves en route to his 62nd career shutout.

Colorado has won three of its last four on the road.

The Maple Leafs have lost two in a row since a three-game winning streak, including Friday's 4-0 setback at Buffalo. Ed Belfour stopped 16 of 20 shots for Toronto before being pulled for the first time this season.

The Maple Leafs were without leading scorer Alexander Mogilny on Friday due to a back injury and will be again on Saturday. He is listed as day-to-day.

Avalanche - 51 points, 4th place, 10 PB, Northwest Division.
Maple Leafs - 55 points, 2nd place, 14 PB, Northeast Division.

Avalanche - Milan Hedjuk, 24 goals and 52 points; Peter Forsberg, 35 assists; Morris, 52 PIM.
Maple Leafs - Mogilny, 21 goals, 29 assists and 50 points; Tie Domi, 94 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 23):
Avalanche - Power play: 18.1 percent (41 for 227), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.5 percent (167 for 210), 28th.
Maple Leafs - Power play: 18.5 percent (40 for 216), 9th. Penalty killing: 87.4 percent (209 for 239), 2nd.

Avalanche - Roy (14-11-10, 1 SO, 2.51 GAA); David Aebischer (4-8-0, 1, 2.29).
Maple Leafs - Belfour (21-13-3, 5, 2.12); Mikael Tellqvist (1-1-0, 3.22).

2001-02 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 3, 2001; Maple Leafs, 4-1. At Toronto, Mogilny scored his first goal in nearly a month as the Maple Leafs won the lone meeting between the teams. Aebischer made 24 saves for Colorado.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Avalanche - 10-5-3-3 on the road; Maple Leafs - 16-9-2-0 at home.
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