Antropov suffers leg injury

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

So much for Nik Antropov's hot run.

The lanky forward, who has often been criticized for his inconsistent play this season, had finally pieced together a solid string of games while playing on a line with captain Mats Sundin and winger Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Having scored four goals and seven assists in his previous eight outings, Antropov recently was even starting to sway some of the naysayers into his corner .

But bad luck struck last night when he suffered a leg injury early in the Maple Leafs 6-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena.

There was speculation that Antropov may have hurt a knee, although coach Pat Quinn would not confirm that.

"I haven't talked to the trainers but I know it was bad enough that he couldn't come back into the game," Quinn said as he scurried to the team bus.

"He tweaked something. That's all I know."

The injury-plagued Antropov has undergone two reconstructive knee surgeries since 2000.

GRAND RAPIDS, ANYONE?

Ben Ondrus and Ian White won't have any problems getting into a post-season state of mind should they be returned to the Toronto Marlies later this week as expected.

"We've been in a playoff mentality ever since we've been up here with the Leafs," White said.

Indeed, the Leafs were fighting for their playoff lives for the past three weeks until they were officially eliminated from contention Saturday night. The final dagger was thrust by Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, whose overtime goal against the Carolina Hurricanes closed the door on the Leafs' playoff hopes.

For Ondrus and White, their post-season likely will just be starting when the Marlies open up the American Hockey League playoffs on Friday against Grand Rapids.

"Hopefully when we get back it will give (the Marlies) that little extra lift," Ondrus said.

Goaltender J-S Aubin, who finally got a rest last night after carrying the load between the pipes for the Leafs the past three weeks, also is eligible to join the Marlies.

"I don't know what's going on there," Aubin said. "I haven't been told anything yet, so I'd rather not comment until I am."


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