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LONDON KNIGHTS (30-8-0-1) VS. OSHAWA GENERALS (18-16-1-4)

WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.

THE MATCHUP: The big trade went down yesterday and the two teams meet tonight, but John Tavares says it's "highly unlikely" he'll play.

HE'LL BE BACK: Tavares will be back in Oshawa on Wednesday in the Canadian Hockey League top prospects game at the the General Motors Centre.

WHO TO WATCH: London -- F John Tavares, of course, if he plays. Who else? He's the guy capable of scoring 50 goals that the Knights didn't have this year and haven't had since Pat Kane left two years ago. He'll duel Windsor star Taylor Hall for the points crown down the stretch and turns London's power play from dangerous to deadly. If he doesn't play, then fellow new Knight D Michael Del Zotto gives London a second NHL first-rounder on their blue-line along with Washington prospect John Carlson. Both have heavy shots and are offensive-minded players.

UNDER-17s: Two players London traded to Oshawa yesterday have gold medals from the World Under-17 Challenge. Christian Thomas logged a lot of ice time, including on the penalty kill, to help Ontario defend its gold medal from a year ago in London. Goalie Michael Zador played all but the gold medal game in net on Ontario's winning squad in the 2008 tournament. "It was great fun," Thomas said. "It was nice to play against guys your own age again. They're not as big and strong."

ZAC ATTACK: New Knight Zac Rinaldo picked up two assists in his debut on Wednesday in a 6-3 victory over the Otters in Erie. The 18-year-old from Hamilton is built like a linebacker and hits like a ton of bricks. But despite the Majors going on a recent 9-1 run, he didn't feel like he was helping as much as he could've and wanted a fresh start. "I was only playing five on five and wasn't getting the ice time I thought I deserved," Rinaldo said yesterday. "I've always wanted to be a London Knight. When the OHL draft was held, I was hoping they'd pick me and the guys here have welcomed me with open arms."

KILL THRILL: The Knights have assembled the talent to compete with Windsor now. But they felt like they had a lot of the character all along. A big reason for that is the fierce play of forward Justin Taylor. In Erie, he scored while the Knights were down two men. True to form, it was one of the hardest-working goals imaginable. He blocked a shot, outmuscled point man Zack Torquato, fended him off for a breakaway and beat goalie Shane Owen to give the Knights some insurance. "I thought it was a big game-changer," Taylor said. "I knew Torquato was a forward playing the point so I took advantage of it and put the shoulder into him to break free. I've been given a pretty big checking role this year and when we go down two guys like that, I like to let Dale (Hunter, head coach) know I'm ready if he needs me, that it's my time to shine."

ALUMNI UPDATE: After finishing up his OHL career in Niagara last year, former Knight sparkplug Jordan Foreman is skating in Anchorage with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. The 22-year-old from Cambridge has seven goals, 10 points and 72 penalty minutes and is also running second to Jean-Phillippe Lamoureux in the team's website poll, which asks, "Which Aces rookie do you expect will shine the brightest this season?"

AFTER THE BUZZER: The Knights will face old pal Kale Kerbashian and the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Generals head home to play the Peterborough Petes on Sunday.

VIDEO: Ryan Pyette discusses the team in his Friday Knights Report at lfpress.com


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