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Gameday Preview

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (9-5-2-0) at Toronto Maple Leafs (6-9-2-0).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

Goaltender Curtis Joseph makes his much-anticipated return to Toronto as the Detroit Red Wings face off against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

Now the only question is whether he'll play or not.

Joseph probably won't know until the morning skate if he'll be between the pipes or sitting at the end of the Maple Leafs' bench come game time.

Red Wings coach Dave Lewis decided to play Joseph, his top goalie, against Anaheim on Friday, which may translate into backup Manny Legace getting the start against the Maple Leafs.

"I'd like to play," said Joseph, who signed with Toronto's Original Six rival as a free agent in the offseason.

"But who am I to come in here and tell them what to do? They won the Stanley Cup last year. What am I going to tell them?" In his four years with Toronto, Joseph amassed 133 wins and helped the Leafs win six playoff rounds, lifting Toronto to the conference finals in 1999 and 2002.

But he never won a Stanley Cup ring, prompting the move to Detroit where the 14-year veteran thinks his best opportunity to win a championship exists.

The Red Wings won their third straight with Friday's 2-1 overtime victory over the Mighty Ducks as Joseph made 25 saves.

Sergei Fedorov scored his NHL-record 12th overtime goal at 4:39 of the extra session, his league-leading sixth game-winner this season.

Joseph's replacement in Toronto, Ed Belfour, won consecutive starts for just the second time this season in Friday's 3-2 triumph over Buffalo.

Belfour stopped 35 shots and Alexander Mogilny scored goals 2:13 apart as the Leafs also won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 14): Red Wings - 18 points, 2nd place (tied), 3 PB, Central Division. Maple Leafs - 12 points, 4th place, 11 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Fedorov, 11 goals and 17 points; Brendan Shanahan, 9 assists; Chris Chelios, 34 PIM. Maple Leafs - Mogilny, 10 goals and 21 points; Mogilny and Mats Sundin, 11 assists; Tie Domi, 36 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 14): Red Wings - Power play: 23.0 percent (17 for 74), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (72 for 84), 7th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 19.5 percent (17 for 87), 6th. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (79 for 95), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Joseph (6-4-2, 1 SO, 2.46 GAA); Legace (3-1-0, 1.99). Maple Leafs - Belfour (5-5-2, 1, 2.64 GAA); Trevor Kidd (1-4-0, 4.23).

2001-02 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: April 1; Maple Leafs, 5-4 (OT). At Detroit, Sundin scored with 1:26 left in overtime as the Maple Leafs clinched a playoff spot. Shanahan and Boyd Devereaux each netted third-period goals as Detroit rallied from a two-goal deficit to send the game into the extra session.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 3-3-0-0 on the road; Maple Leafs - 4-6-1-0 at home.
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