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Goalies could return as Devils host Maple Leafs

by Dan Rosen
MAPLE LEAFS (7-3-1) at DEVILS (4-4-1)


Last 10:
Toronto 6-3-1

Season Series:
This is the first of four games between the clubs this season. They split the series last season.

Big Story: Both No. 1 goalies could be back in net Wednesday night in Newark. Martin Brodeur has sat out six straight games with an injured right shoulder, but he told reporters on Tuesday that he is ready to play if coach Pete DeBoer wants to use him. Leafs coach Ron Wilson said James Reimer, who has been out for over a week with whiplash, will be a game-time decision. If they're not ready, look for Johan Hedberg to get his seventh straight start and Jonas Gustavsson to get his fifth in a row.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs:
Phil Kessel will look to pick up in November exactly where he left off in October. Kessel was the NHL's Player of the Month for October with a League-best 10 goals and 18 points. Toronto entered Tuesday night leading the Northeast Division with 15 points, but Ottawa had a chance to take over the lead with a win in Boston.

As hot as Kessel has been, Reimer's injury and questions about when he'll return have been the talk of Toronto. He has been practicing with the club for several days now and on Tuesday Wilson finally labeled him a game-time decision for Wednesday at Prudential Center.

"I don't have any plans yet. We'll see how responds and feels," Wilson said. "It was good to see him out there. He looked fairly sharp. We'll make a decision (Wednesday), see how he is at the pre-game skate and see how he feels after (Tuesday's practice)."

The Leafs might have to play without rookie defenseman Jake Gardiner, who blocked a shot in Sunday's game and didn't practice Tuesday due to a sore foot. Cody Franson would go in if Gardiner is unable to play.

New Jersey returns home after losing three of four on the road. The good news is that Brodeur says he's ready to play and Travis Zajac (left Achilles) is also on the mend, though he isn't ready to re-join his teammates in practice.

Zajac visited the Devils on Monday for the first time since having his surgery on Aug. 18. He said he has been training in his hometown of Winnipeg and has resumed skating, but could not put a timetable on his return.

"Right now the plan is to go back to Winnipeg, finish with rehab, start skating a little more, and we'll kind of take it on a week-by-week, day-by-day basis until I think I'm closer to be ready to be skating with the team," Zajac told reporters Monday.

Who's Hot:
Toronto forward Clarke MacArthur scored both goals in Sunday's 3-2 loss to Ottawa. MacArthur has 4 goals in the three games after going five straight without one. … Devils forward Patrick Elias has points in seven of the team's nine games this season.

Injury Report:
Other than Brodeur (shoulder), who could return, Eric Boulton may also be ready to play again after missing the last four games with a sore hand. … The Leafs still aren't sure about Reimer (whiplash), and they are similarly uncertain about Jake Gardiner, who has a right foot injury. Colby Armstrong will miss his seventh straight game with an ankle injury.

Stat Pack:
Since the Devils moved Zach Parise to center three games ago, he has been limited to one unassisted goal and Ilya Kovalchuk has been held without a point. … Kessel became only the second Maple Leaf to win a NHL Player of the Month Award. Felix Potvin won it in October 1993.

Puck Drop: "He may be the best goaltender of all time and one of the leaders in the dressing room," DeBoer said of Brodeur. "I think just having him healthy, whether he's playing or on the bench, can definitely help. Having said that, he can't score goals for us or run the point on the power play, so those are things we have to fix."

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