While Bryan McCabe's brain cramps are not expected to keep him out of the lineup for Game 6 tonight, defenceman Ken Klee will be sidelined because of a knee injury suffered in Sunday's 7-2 loss to the Flyers.
Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said yesterday that Klee, who has averaged almost 19 minutes of ice time in the post-season, may have to undergo surgery.
One of the team's most dependable defensive defencemen, Klee had been paired with Tomas Kaberle and his place tonight likely will be taken by Karel Pilar, who has not seen action in the playoffs.
Pilar played in 50 games during the regular season, scoring two goals and adding 17 assists. He was developing into a solid two-way defenceman last season when a serious heart ailment sidelined him for 45 games. The native of Prague has recovered, but the mysterious illness slowed his progress.
When asked why he was leaning towards playing Pilar instead of Calle Johannson or Drake Berehowsky, an agitated Quinn replied: "It's the coach's choice, I guess."
"I'm pretty excited," Pilar said following yesterday's practice at the Air Canada Centre. "We've been skating with (assistant coach) Keith Acton a lot (after practice) and I'm in good shape and ready to go."
Pilar said he will not attempt to play over his head tonight, but stick to what he knows best, moving the puck out of his zone quickly, with precision, and adding on offence when needed.
"I can match the physical play," Pilar said of defending against the rough and tough Flyers forwards. "I'm going to try to move the puck, make simple plays, like I played before."
"Kenny is a big part of our team, but that's why (we) added depth at the deadline," McCabe said. "We've got to get right back at it. We're at our best when we play ugly and play simple."
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