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Notes: Vanek possible for game against Leafs tonight

Toronto is sixth in the league with 3.02 goals per game

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - There is a chance that Thomas Vanek could play against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

"He skated this morning and felt better, so we'll know for sure tonight after warmups," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Vanek left the game Sunday against the New York Rangers after the first period with a lower-body injury and did not travel to Boston.

Vanek appeared to be hit by Andreas Athanasiou's shot and was very slow to leave the ice.

It would be nice to have Vanek back as he has 23 goals and 30 assists in 55 career games against the Maple Leafs.

LEAFS AGAIN: It was just a few weeks ago that the Wings faced the Maple Leafs in the Centennial Classic at Toronto's BMO Field, a 5-4 overtime loss.

The Leafs are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 53 points in just 45 games.

The Wings are in seventh place in the Atlantic with 49 points in 48 games.

"I took away from watching them, not only against us in the Centennial Classic but from watching them a number of times here in the last month and a half, they've got firepower similar to that of Pittsburgh and some of the real high-octane offenses in the league," Blashill said. "There's no question they've got that kind of firepower. They're young but you look at the amount of goals - (Mitch) Marner leads them in points, (Auston) Matthews with the goals, (William) Nylander as a regular, (Connor) Brown and (Zach) Hyman as regulars. They've influxed a ton of goals. They've got real offensive firepower. They stretch the zone really well, they like to get behind you, they play a little bit like Chicago does that way where they anticipate turnovers, anticipate and get behind you. So we've got to do a real good job of being above them, we got to do a real good job of, I would say, frustrating them by suffocating them."

Blashill would not reveal which goaltender would start against the Leafs, although it is unlikely that Jared Coreau would play again on a back-to-back situation, especially after facing 49 shots in the 4-3 overtime loss in Boston.

Coreau played in the Centennial Classic.

"They got some young, skilled guys - Matthews, Marner, Nylander and they got some speedy guys on the blue line, they got a good goalie," Coreau said. "I think, to be honest, I don't know if they were playing their best in the first two periods in the outdoor game. They turned it on there, that's what they can do. We have to be ready from start to finish. They're going to come out and they're going pretty good right now so it's going to be a good challenge for us. Nothing changes, nothing with our game plan changes. We have to show up and get two points."

Petr Mrazek made 34 saves in the 3-2 overtime loss in Buffalo last Friday.

In three career games, Mrazek is 1-2-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .950 save percentage against Toronto.

Justin Abdelkader knows the Leafs, who sixth in the league with 3.02 goals per game, will be a challenge.

"I think on a nightly basis we've got to get up for every game because all the points are critical," Abdelkader said. "Obviously there's an emphasis on games within our division. Toronto's ahead of us so it's a big game."

The Leafs are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

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