Blue Jackets-Maple Leafs Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (16-28-8-3) at Toronto Maple Leafs (30-14-9-3).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Goaltender Ed Belfour hopes to return to action when the Toronto Maple Leafs
host the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Air Canada Centre.
Belfour, sidelined for three games with a stiff lower back, watched the
Maple Leafs go 1-1-1 in his absence, including Tuesday's 4-4 tie at Tampa Bay
in which backup Trevor Kidd made 25 saves.
Toronto recalled Mikael Tellqvist from the AHL to help serve as Kidd's
backup during Belfour's absence, but Tellqvist was sent back to the minors
Wednesday, clearing the way for Belfour's return.
Belfour ranks fifth in the league with 23 wins and is fourth in the NHL with
Toronto, which is locked in a tight battle with Boston and Ottawa for first
place in the Northeast Division, made another roster move Wednesday, acquiring
veteran defenseman Drake Berehowsky from Pittsburgh for defenseman Ric Jackman.
The 32-year-old Berehowsky, a Toronto native, had five goals and 16 assists
with 50 penalty minutes in 47 games for the Penguins. He began his career with
the Maple Leafs as a first-round selection in 1990, but was dealt to Pittsburgh
The Leafs, who rallied from two goals down in the third period to salvage
Tuesday's tie, are 6-2-1 over their last nine games.
The Blue Jackets returned from the All-Star break with an impressive 3-2 win
over the red-hot Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. David Vyborny scored 1:58 into
overtime as Columbus ended Los Angeles' season-high seven-game unbeaten streak
with its second straight overtime victory over the Kings.
Defensemen Jaroslav Spacek and Aaron Johnson scored for the Blue Jackets,
who are 7-7-4 since Gerard Gallant was named interim coach Jan. 1.