Devereaux bothered by ACC rut

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

The highly criticized ice conditions at the Air Canada Centre have claimed another victim.

Luckily for the Maple Leafs, no serious injury was involved this time around.

Nevertheless it was significant enough to keep forward Boyd Devereaux from participating in the team's brief 30-minute practice prior to yesterday's annual Toronto Maple Leafs Skate for Easter Seals Kids.

When Devereaux did not take part in the workout, many observers figured he had been banged up in the Leafs' 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at The Hanger on Saturday night. Devereaux posted a team-leading three blocked shots and was thought to have been hurt by at least one of them.

But the veteran forward quickly set the record straight for the handful of reporters on hand.

"With about three minutes left in the third period, my (left foot/ankle) got yanked when I got it caught in a rut in the ice," Devereaux explained.

"It just didn't feel 100% (yesterday). It's still a little tender."

Devereaux does expect to play in Raleigh tomorrow night when the Leafs take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center.

The chippy ice at the ACC has spawned much debate in the past few months, especially after forward Nik Antropov caught a blade in a rut during a practice earlier this season and immediately crumpled to the ice. The resultant ankle injury left Antropov out of the lineup for more than a month.

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs have not lost just once in regulation time against the Habs this season, going 3-0-0-2 in their five head-to-head meetings with Montreal. Both Canadiens victories have come via the shootout ... Devereaux knows the importance of the Leafs' coming five-game trip. "You never want to lay it out there like it is do or die but, yes, if we don't get any points from it, it could mean the season ... Coach Paul Maurice acknowledges the logjam of clubs vying to make the playoffs in the east. "There are seven or eight teams vying for (the final) two spots," he said. "Florida's back in it as well."


Videos

Photos