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Sharks' Torres game-time decision vs. Maple Leafs

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks could be without forward Raffi Torres when they face the surging Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday in the finale of their three-game homestand at SAP Center.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Torres will be a game-time decision against Toronto.

Torres played his fifth game of the season Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens after being sidelined by right knee surgery until after the NHL break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He wasn't on the ice Tuesday for an optional morning skate and didn't practice Monday.

"He's a little bit sore and it may be a night where he has to take off just to recuperate a little bit," McLellan said. "It's taxing on that body and on his legs. We may look at doing that tonight."

McLellan was asked if Torres' soreness was related to his knee surgery or just to playing hockey after a long layoff.

"A little bit of everything," he said.

If Torres can't play, the Sharks could fill his spot in the lineup with Marty Havlat or Mike Brown. Havlat has missed the past two games and, according to McLellan, is not at full strength after offseason pelvic surgery.

Brown, who ranks second on the team with 57 penalty minutes, has missed four straight games. If he plays, the Sharks could move Tyler Kennedy up from the fourth line to take Torres' spot on the third line.

With or without Torres, the Sharks understand the challenge they'll face against Toronto. The Maple Leafs have gone 14-3-3 over their past 20 games and opened a five-game road trip Monday with a 3-1 victory against the Anaheim Ducks, their third straight win.

"They're playing as well as any team has in the past 20 games," Sharks forward Tommy Wingels said. "They're 14-3-3, which is pretty remarkable. They have a lot of scoring power, leading the way with [Phil] Kessel there. We're going to have to be on our 'A' game tonight."

The Sharks (89 points) have won back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Canadiens to move within four points of the first-place Ducks in the Pacific Division.

"That game against Pittsburgh was one of the best games of the year," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "Just the intensity in the building, the way the game went and the flow to the game. That was an exciting game, almost playofflike. I think that kind of woke us up a little bit, and we carried that into our game against Montreal. And now we have another big game tonight."

The Maple Leafs have not announced a starting goaltender, but Jonathan Bernier started against Anaheim so backup James Reimer will likely start. Antti Niemi was first off the ice for the Sharks and is expected to make his third straight start after back-to-back victories.

Here are the projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Sharks:


James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Nikolai Kulemin - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul

Mason Raymond - Peter Holland - Troy Bodie

Carter Ashton - Jay McClement - David Clarkson

Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson

Cody Franson - Jake Gardiner

Tim Gleason - Morgan Rielly

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Paul Ranger

Injured: Dave Bolland (ankle), Colton Orr (undisclosed)


Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Matt Nieto

Tyler Kennedy - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels

Mike Brown - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Scott Hannan - Justin Braun

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Matt Tennyson, Marty Havlat, Raffi Torres

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