Maurice stirs up lineup

Skilled, but little-used Leafs winger Alexander Suglobov (left) getting some instruction from coach...

Skilled, but little-used Leafs winger Alexander Suglobov (left) getting some instruction from coach Paul Maurice, returns to the lineup for tonight's game at the ACC against the New York Islanders. (Toronto Sun File/Craig Robertson)

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

The addition of Andrew and Alex means attitude adjustment for the Maple Leafs.

Needing a little shakeup after back-to-back losses, in which they scored just two goals, Toronto welcomes back No. 1 goaltender Andrew Raycroft and seldom-used winger Alex Suglobov here tonight against the New York Islanders.

Raycroft will have missed 11 days with a groin strain by the time he suits up, during which the Leafs had a 1-2 record under the combination of backups Jean-Sebastien Aubin and Mikael Tellqvist.

Neither could be faulted for recent 2-1 losses at Boston (in overtime) and here against the New Jersey Devils. But Raycroft and the team were in a nice rhythm prior to his injury, which occured with the team on its way to six wins in seven starts.

"I'm 100%," Raycroft declared yesterday after participating in the team's annual open practice at the Air Canada Centre to benefit the Leafs Fund. "We'll look at it one more time today, but I'm feeling fine.

"I did the shootout (all 19 Leafs skaters ended the workout testing Raycroft and Tellqvist on breakways) and I didn't even think about the injury the last day and a half."

There was no sign of Aubin yesterday after a nasty flu bug forced a last-minute switch to Tellqvist on Saturday. The Leafs hope to turn Tellqvist into trade bait, but Aubin probably hasn't looked too shabby to potential shoppers either, with a record of 11-1-4 since last spring.

Maurice was stressing "quicker hands" in practice the past two days, believing the Leafs aren't getting enough high-quality shots and the resulting rebounds. The Devils blocked 24 shots on Saturday and both Leafs power plays were ineffective.

With the injured Mats Sundin not due back in the lineup until Saturday at the earliest -- three games hence -- Maurice is thinking outside the box, thus Suglobov's return.

Held to less than seven minutes of ice time in sitting eight of the last 10 games, Suglobov is likely in tonight according to Maurice. Suglobov would've liked to be back on Saturday against his old team, but Maurice praised the 24-year-old Russian for not rocking the boat during extended time in the press box.

"He's worked hard," Maurice said. "He's a young player and those guys sometimes have to wait for things to happen that are out of their control.

"He's a left-handed power-play guy, which means there are players ahead of him. Right now, Alex (Ponikarovsky) and Nik (Antropov) are, based on the way they have played.

"There is a pecking order and he has to wait for injuries or lack of goals. He has a chance to try and get five shifts tonight and in the next game, six. That's how you scratch and claw your way into being effective."


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