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Maple Leafs get Lupul back after seven-game absence

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs will have forward Joffrey Lupul back in their lineup when they face the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Lupul has missed the past seven games with a groin injury; he'll return playing on a line with center Peter Holland and wing Nikolai Kulemin. The Maple Leafs went 2-3-2 without Lupul in the lineup.

"To put it bluntly, we're not playing very well," Lupul said. "We're not playing how we'd like. We're giving up too many chances and probably not creating enough. We've talked about some things. Penalties are killing us. … So we're going to try and stay out of the box and give our penalty kill a break, give our goalies a break, and go from there."

The Maple Leafs will have to do without captain Dion Phaneuf on defense. Phaneuf is serving the first game of a two-game suspension for a hit from behind on Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller on Sunday. Mark Fraser will enter the lineup in his place, and Morgan Rielly will be scratched for the fourth game in a row.

"It's one of the things you have to deal with," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We've had our fair share of controversy and not a stable lineup. … There are things that happen in the life of a hockey club and you're forced as a coach to make decisions and a coaching staff that has to make adjustments. We've been forced as much as anybody in our minds but, again, that's part of the job."

Jonathan Bernier was the first goalie off at the morning skate and he'll get the start against his former team. Bernier was acquired by the Maple Leafs from the Kings in exchange for forward Matt Frattin and goalie Ben Scrivens in June.

As for Scrivens, it appears he will not get the chance to face his former team. Goalie Martin Jones was the first goalie off at the Kings morning skate and appears likely to make his fourth start in a row. Jones has a shutout in the past two games, including a 6-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.

"You don't sense any nervousness from him, which is the most impressive thing for me," Kings captain Dustin Brown said of Jones.

The Kings held an optional morning skate and do not appear likely to make any lineup changes from their previous game.

Here is how the lineups project for Wednesday:


Dwight KingAnze KopitarJeff Carter

Dustin BrownJarret StollJustin Williams

Kyle CliffordMike RichardsTyler Toffoli

Daniel CarcilloColin FraserJordan Nolan

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Robyn RegehrSlava Voynov

Willie MitchellAlec Martinez

Martin Jones

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Matt Greene, Matt Frattin, Linden Vey

Injured: Trevor Lewis (lower body), Jonathan Quick (IR, groin)


James van RiemsdykNazem KadriPhil Kessel

Joffrey LupulPeter HollandNikolai Kulemin

Mason RaymondTrevor SmithDavid Clarkson

Frazer McLarenJay McClementJerry D'Amigo

Carl GunnarssonCody Franson

Jake GardinerJohn-Michael Liles

Mark FraserPaul Ranger

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Dion Phaneuf (suspension), Morgan Rielly, Carter Ashton

Injured: Tyler Bozak (IR, oblique), Dave Bolland (IR, cut tendon), Colton Orr (IR, elbow)

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