Kaberle returns as Leafs and Senators renew hostilities

The Sports Network
2/28/2009 2:25:56 PM
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The Maple Leafs will have some reinforcements tonight when they face the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place as defencemen Tomas Kaberle and Mike Van Ryn are expected to make their respective returns to the lineup.

How long Kaberle will remain on the Leafs roster remains up in the air as rumours continue to swirl around the veteran blue liners potential departure before the NHL's March 4th trade deadline.

While the four-time All-Star has a "no trade" clause in his contract, he recently gave Leafs' general manager a list of 10 teams that he would potentially accept a trade to.  All 10 teams are reportedly in the Eastern conference. 

With a reasonable salary at $4.25 million over the next two years and a value to the Maple Leafs, Burke will be looking for a lot in return.  Burke has stated that he would expect to receive a package similar to the one that the Oilers received when they sent Chris Pronger to the Ducks in 2006 which included a first and second round draft pick along with a prospect and a player the Leafs could add to their roster immediately.

Meanwhile, on the ice, the team is in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season as they head to the Nation's capital.

After sweeping a home-and-home set with the reeling New York Rangers earlier in the week, the Maple Leafs picked up their third consecutive victory by edging the New York Islanders, 5-4, in a shootout Thursday at Nassau Coliseum.

Tim Stapleton, making his NHL debut, scored in the third round of the shootout to give Toronto its second three-game surge of the 2008-09 campaign. The club also won three in a row from December 8-16.

The Maple Leafs now have garnered a point in five straight contests and gone 3-0-2 in that span.
Jason Blake also had a goal in the shootout and added two assists in regulation for Toronto, which received 40 saves from goaltender Vesa Toskala. Mikhail Grabovski also notched a pair of helpers in the win.

The Maple Leafs did lose Niklas Hagman in the third period of Thursday's triumph after the veteran forward suffered a concussion after being elbowed in the head by Isles defenseman Brendan Witt. Hagman is considered doubtful to play tonight.

Toronto will attempt to maintain its recent winning ways against an Ottawa club that has lost four of its last five outings and hasn't had much success in this series as of late. The Maple Leafs have won six of the eight most recent editions of the Battle of Ontario, although the Senators posted a 2-1 shootout victory over Toronto at Scotiabank Place on November 27.

Ottawa has split the first two tilts of a season-long eight-game homestand, opening the stretch with Tuesday's 4-2 win over Carolina and then losing a one-goal game against Western Conference front-runner San Jose on Thursday.

Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau netted power-play goals 1:18 apart in the second period to lift the Sharks to the 2-1 win, with Mike Fisher's power-play tally the only Ottawa score. Alex Auld stopped 22-of-24 shots for the Senators in defeat.

Ottawa, which fell to 13-11-5 at home on the season with Thursday's loss, presently trails the Maple Leafs by five points for fourth place in the Northeast Division.


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