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Gameday Preview

Tuesday, 31.12.2002 / 12:00 AM / News
Toronto Maple Leafs
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GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (18-14-4-1) at Vancouver Canucks (22-10-5-0).

TIME: Tuesday, 10 p.m. EST.

Just when the Vancouver Canucks get back their No. 1 goaltender, they lose their top defenseman.

Dan Cloutier is likely to be in net for the Northwest Division leaders, but he will not have Ed Jovanovski in front of him for Vancouver's matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

On the same day Cloutier returned to make 22 saves after missing four games with a knee injury, Jovanovski broke his foot in Saturday's 7-3 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Jonas Hoglund has come on strong as of late.
Graig Abel Photography


The team said Monday that Jovanovski, a member of Canada's gold medal-winning Olympic team, would be sidelined four-to-six weeks. He is second on the Canucks with 23 assists and fourth with 27 points.

"My foot planted and I got twisted around," Jovanovski said. "It's weird, I don't even know how to explain it." It's not hard to explain why Vancouver has been successful lately. Markus Naslund and the Canucks offense are on a roll, scoring 21 goals in the last five games, including four wins.

Naslund has three goals and four assists in the last four games. Following this past weekend's action, Naslund was leading the NHL with 24 goals, including a league-high 16 on the power play, and ranked fourth with 46 points.

Vancouver leads the West with 22 wins, and stands one point behind Detroit for the best record in the conference.

While the Canucks will be without an integral part of their defense, the Leafs could be missing two key members of their offense.

Alexander Mogilny, who leads Toronto with 41 points, could miss the game because of a sore back.

Mats Sundin, tops on the team with 18 goals, may be unable to play due to a left shoulder injury that forced him to sit out Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss at Edmonton. Sundin saw his streak of 269 consecutive games played come to an end.

Another streak snapped Saturday was the Leafs' five-game unbeaten run (3-0-2). Toronto, however, has recorded a point in six straight and has lost in regulation just three times in its last 16 contests.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 29): Maple Leafs - 41 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Northeast Division. Canucks - 49 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Maple Leafs - Sundin, 18 goals; Mogilny, 25 assists and 41 points; Tie Domi, 62 PIM. Canucks - Naslund, 24 goals and 46 points; Brendan Morrison, 24 assists; Todd Bertuzzi, 86 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 29): Maple Leafs - Power play: 20.5 percent (36 for 176), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 87.6 percent (170 for 194), 2nd. Canucks - Power play: 20.4 percent (40 for 196), 5th. Penalty killing: 86.5 percent (173 for 200), 5th.

GOALTENDERS: Maple Leafs - Ed Belfour (16-10-3, 5 SO, 1.98 GAA); Trevor Kidd (2-5-1, 3.74). Canucks - Cloutier (18-8-3-1, 1, 2.37); Peter Skudra (4-2-2, 2.53).

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 25; Canucks, 6-1. At Vancouver, B.C., Morrison scored twice and Bertuzzi and Brent Sopel each had a goal and an assist.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Maple Leafs - 5-7-2-1 on the road; Canucks - 9-6-3-0 at home.
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