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Without Bernier, Maple Leafs visit Red Wings

by Brian Hedger

MAPLE LEAFS (36-25-8) at RED WINGS (30-24-13)


Last 10: Toronto 5-3-2; Detroit 4-5-1

Season series: This is the third of four games between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, who last played Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The Maple Leafs won 3-2 in a shootout and the Red Wings won the first game of the season, 5-4 in a shootout, on Dec. 21 at Air Canada Centre.

Big story: Detroit keeps spinning its wheels amid a slew of injuries in an effort to extend the franchise's streak of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to 23 straight years. The Red Wings' 4-1 loss Sunday night at the Chicago Blackhawks dropped them further outside the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

The Maple Leafs, despite a 4-2 loss Sunday at the Washington Capitals, appear in decent shape to make the playoffs for a second straight season. They've climbed high enough in the Atlantic Division standings to separate themselves from the pack vying for the last wild-card opening.

Team Scope:

Maple Leafs: Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said Monday that goalie Jonathan Bernier is day-to-day with a low-grade groin muscle strain. James Reimer, who took the loss against the Capitals, is the likely starter against Detroit.

"You want to be there for your team when they need you whether it's every night or every other night," Reimer said. "Right now I'm just focused on winning the game [Tuesday] and if I do something in the next couple of days -- or for however long Bernies out -- to impress people, well then that's great. But it's a process and I'm just trying to get better."

Captain Dion Phaneuf is fighting effects of the flu, which he played through in Washington.

Red Wings: If forward Todd Bertuzzi (lower body) can't play against Toronto, the Red Wings will be without 11 players with varying amounts of skill and experience.

Justin Abdelkader (lower body) will miss the next two weeks, leading coach Mike Babcock to move defenseman Brendan Smith up to forward for this game.

"Why? Because I think it gives us the best chance to win," Babcock said. "With the amount of injuries we have, we feel that gives us the best opportunities."

Forward Landon Ferraro was the latest call-up from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League when he was recalled Monday in lieu of Abdelkader's injury in the Chicago game.

If Bertuzzi can't play, enter Ferraro into the lineup to further turn Detroit into Grand Rapids East.

Who's hot: Phaneuf has scored goals in two straight games for the Maple Leafs and has five points in his past five games. ... Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist scored his 17th goal in the loss against the Blackhawks, and has 12 goals, 11 assists and 23 points in his past 20 gamess.

Injury report: Maple Leafs center Dave Bolland (Achilles surgery) remains on injured reserve. ... The Red Wings are without captain Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery), top center Pavel Datsyuk (knee), center Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), center Darren Helm (concussion), goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin), center Joakim Andersson (foot fracture), forward Tomas Jurco (rib), forward Daniel Cleary (knee) and forward Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder).

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