Lupul expected to make Leafs debut against Devils on TSN

The Sports Network
2/10/2011 12:32:10 PM
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(Sports Network) - Toronto's recent run of success didn't stop general manager Brian Burke from pulling off a trade on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs may debut their new offensive addition this evening when they take on the red-hot New Jersey Devils at Air Canada Centre.

The game can be seen live on TSN at 7pm et/4pm pt.

The Maple Leafs have won four of their last five games, but still sit 12th overall in the Eastern Conference with 51 points. Though just eight points back of a playoff spot, Burke still pulled the trigger on yesterday's trade and sent defenseman Francois Beauchemin to the Ducks for forward Joffrey Lupul, defensive prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional 2013 fourth-round pick.

Beauchemin joined Toronto as a free agent prior to 2009-10 after spending his previous three seasons with the Ducks, winning a Stanley Cup title with the club in 2007. Burke was the GM of that title-winning team.

Burke now hopes that Lupul will add some offensive punch to his club after totaling five goals and eight assists in 26 games this season. Lupul did not see his first action this campaign until early December after missing nearly a full year with a back injury and subsequent blood infection.

Toronto hasn't needed the scoring help as of late, posting a total of 10 goals in back-to-back wins. That includes a 5-3 triumph over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

Tomas Kaberle broke a 2-2 tie with his third-period goal and Nikolai Kulemin and Fredrik Sjostrom also scored in the frame. Colby Armstrong added a goal and two assists, Darryl Boyce tallied three assists and James Reimer made 31 saves.

"All we can do is control what we do and how we play as a team," Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "We'll take the win tonight."

Reimer, who has never faced the Devils, had been pulled early in his previous outing but has gotten the start in three of the Maple Leafs' last four games. It is unknown if he or Jean-Sebastien Giguere, another former Duck acquired during Burke's Toronto tenure, will start tonight.

Giguere does have solid career numbers versus the Devils, going 5-1-0 with a tie and 1.94 goals-against average in seven starts.

Toronto has won three straight at home both overall and against New Jersey. The Maple Leafs opened their season series with the Devils by notching a 3-1 home win on Nov. 18 before a 4-1 victory on Dec. 26, paced by two Armstrong goals.

The Leafs have won three straight and five of their last seven overall against the Devils while also taking eight of the past 12 at ACC.

New Jersey, though, comes into this meeting 10-1-2 in is last 13. The Devils weren't thinking playoffs back on Jan. 7 when they dealt captain Jamie Langenbrunner to Dallas for a 2011 draft pick, but they have crept to within 15 points of a playoff spot with 28 games left to play.

The Devils are coming off Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win against the Hurricanes, with Mattias Tedenby's second goal of the game 2:42 into the extra frame serving as the game-winner.

Nick Palmieri added the game-tying goal with 2:54 left in regulation and Ilya Kovalchuk had an assist to give him three goals and three helpers over a five- game point streak.

"We always seem to play with more desperation when we are losing," said New Jersey forward Travis Zajac. "It wasn't our best game, but we got the job done."

Johan Hedberg made 20 saves in place of Martin Brodeur, who suffered a sprained right knee during the first period of Sunday's win over Montreal. Brodeur is day-to-day, but may miss a few games.

Hedberg is 7-5-1 with a 3.15 GAA in his career versus the Maple Leafs.

New Jersey, which has won four of its last five on the road, will be without Anton Volchenkov for three games after he was suspended for an elbow to the head of Carolina forward Zach Boychuk.

Joffrey Lupul (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)


(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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