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Maple Leafs-Canucks Preview @NHLdotcom
Maple Leafs-Canucks Preview

GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (24-15-3) at Vancouver Canucks (23-14-5).

TIME: Tuesday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to be bit hard by the injury bug

Toronto will be without high-scoring defenseman Bryan McCabe when it meets the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place.

McCabe will sit out this game after suffering a groin injury Saturday in Toronto's 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

"I pride myself on not having to miss games but this is something I can't mess around with," said McCabe, who had two assists in the win over Oilers.

He leads all defensemen with 15 goals and 34 assists this season.

"I don't want to make it any worse," McCabe said. "We have a lot of games in a lot of nights over the next three months of the season. Hopefully I'll take a couple days off and I'll be fine."

He will be replaced by Carlo Colaiacovo, who has missed several games with a wrist injury.

McCabe is the latest Maple Leaf player to suffer an injury. Forward Eric Lindros is out with ligament damage in his right wrist. Ed Belfour, Mats Sundin and Tie Domi have all missed games this year.

Toronto still has won seven of its last eight and remain in third place in the Northeast Division, seven points ahead of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens.

"We've had a number of injuries this year but we seem to find a way to battle through them and still compete hard on a nightly basis," said Darcy Tucker, who also is nursing injured ribs.

The Leafs are 4-0-1 in their last five against the Canucks.

Vancouver, looking for its third straight win for the first time in nearly a month, is coming off a confidence-building 4-3 overtime win Sunday over the Northwest Division-leading Calgary Flames.

Brendan Morrison scored the game-winner with 2:53 to play in overtime, giving Vancouver its first win in five games against Calgary this season.

The Canucks have not won three in a row since notching a four-game run from Dec. 4-15.

"We're not out of the woods," Anson Carter said. "I don't think we'll be out of the woods until we get back on top of the division."

Lack of scoring has been the biggest problem for the Canucks recently. Markus Naslund has one goal in his last five games and Morrison goals was just his second in seven games. Todd Bertuzzi also hasn't scored in eight games.

Naslund thinks the team might have turned a corner.

"It's weird how a win affect you," he said. "We're feeling a lot better about ourselves. Sometimes it's really tough to get out of a slump. You try to do the right things but for some reason it's not going your way. We finally got a couple of wins here and it gives us a fresh outlook."

STANDINGS (through Jan. 9): Maple Leafs - 51 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Northeast Division. Canucks - 51 points, 2nd place (tied), 4 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Tucker, 18 goals; McCabe, 34 assists, 49 points and 56 PIM. Canucks - Naslund, 22 goals and 47 points; Bertuzzi and Henrik Sedin, 27 assists; Bertuzzi, 72 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 9): Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.2 percent (54 for 268), 6th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (216 for 265), 18th. Canucks - Power play: 19.1 percent (54 for 283), 8th. Penalty killing: 82.2 percent (212 for 258), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Belfour (18-12-2, 0, 3.14); Mikael Tellqvist (6-3-1, 1 SO, 2.43 GAA). Canucks - Alexander Auld (15-10-3, 0, 2.89); Maxime Ouellet (0-1-1, 0, 4.39).

2003-2004 SEASON SERIES: Maple Leafs, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 24, 2003; Maple Leafs, 2-1. At Toronto, Sundin and former Maple Leaf Gary Roberts each scored a goal and Belfour turned away 24 shots to beat the Canucks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 9-8-2 on the road; Canucks - 15-3-3 at home.

Associated Press
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