MAPLE LEAFS (22-18-3) at DUCKS (27-10-6)
TV: SNO, KCOP-13
ANAHEIM -- Toronto Maple Leafs forwards James van Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov each missed the morning skate Wednesday, but interim coach Peter Horachek did not rule out either player against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.
Each player took maintenance days, according to Horachek, though Komarov appears doubtful after leaving Toronto's 2-0 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Monday with an upper-body injury. He worked out off the ice during practice Tuesday.
"We're hoping to have Leo, and James should be available," Horacheck said.
Van Riemsdyk is tied for the Maple Leafs lead with 19 goals, and Komarov has five goals and 13 assists, putting him eighth in points. The Ducks are one of two NHL teams van Riemsdyck has never scored against, with the San Jose Sharks, Toronto's opponent Thursday, being the other.
Goalie Jonathan Bernier will start his fourth straight game for the Maple Leafs and forward Daniel Winnik will join Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak on the top line after Richard Panik occupied that role in the loss to the Kings.
Winnik said the biggest challenge when skating alongside a player as talented as Kessel is trying to make plays in 2-on-2 type situations.
"It's tough to decide to dump the puck in when you got a guy like him and his skill," said Winnik, who played in Anaheim the past two seasons.
Kessel is a big reason the Ducks will be extra focused on the forecheck and preventing the Maple Leafs from using their speed in transition. Toronto has won six straight against Anaheim and most of the wins have been high-scoring end-to-end affairs.
"We want to play the game below the circles," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
One element the Ducks hope will make a difference is the extra practice time they've enjoyed lately. This will be the seventh game in an eight-game homestand that began on Dec. 28.
"We've had some good days of practice," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who has never scored a goal against the Maple Leafs, the only NHL opponent he has failed to do so. "We've been able to focus on the forechecking aspect, getting the puck out of our zone clean. You have to do that against a team like Toronto."
Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen will make his second straight start and will be looking for his fourth straight win, with two coming in a shootout and the other by one goal in regulation. Anaheim has supported him with 10 goals in regulation in his past three starts after the Ducks combined for two regulation goals in his previous three.
Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said he'd prefer a closely-played, low-scoring game against Toronto this time around.
"We've got into a track meet with them and they're the type of team that doesn't need too many chances to score goals," he said. "They have a lot of guys that can really skate and push the pace. That's not the type of team we are."
Here are the projected lineups:
Daniel Winnik – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk – Nazem Kadri - Richard Panik
Mike Santorelli – Sam Carrick – David Clarkson
David Booth – Trevor Smith - Troy Bodie
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Franson
Morgan Rielly – Roman Polak
Stephane Robidas – Jake Gardiner
Scratched: Korbinian Holzer
Injured: Leo Komarov (upper body), Peter Holland (upper body), Joffrey Lupul (lower body)
Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry – Patrick Maroon
Rene Bourque – Ryan Kesler – Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano – Devante Smith-Pelly – Jakob Silfverberg
Colby Robak – Matt Beleskey – Tim Jackman
Sami Vatanen – Cam Fowler
Hampus Lindholm – Francois Beauchemin
Clayton Stoner – Ben Lovejoy
Scratched: Mark Fistric
Injured: Eric Brewer (foot)
Status report: Brewer is skating on his own but has yet to practice with his teammates, according to the Orange County Register. Carrick will be the likely scratch if Komarov can play, according to the Maple Leafs website.
Who's hot: Getzlaf has points in three of his past four games (1-2-3) and 11 of his past 13 (5-11-16). Van Riemsdyk has two goals and five points in his past five games.