Tucker and the giants

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice hopes to turn HSBC Arena into Hitsville tonight, experimenting with a new line of Chad Kilger and Darcy Tucker on either side of centre Mark Bell.

That links Tucker, one of the more feisty Leafs when he is on his game, with two 6-foot-4 forwards. Kilger was sixth in the NHL last year with 234 hits, and before last night's games, was tied for third with 53.

"I don't know what I'll do because those other two are so big," Tucker said. "But we're all intense and hopefully, what we bring is what the team needs. We'll play down low, work the puck and eat up some minutes."

STRALMAN ODD MAN OUT

The return of Bryan McCabe meant the Leafs have no room for rookie defenceman Anton Stralman. The Swede was returned to the Marlies yesterday after recording no points in seven games and registering a minus-4.

He wasn't exactly Nick Lidstrom, as his home country media over-hyped him, but he averaged 11 minutes a night, including some prime time in tight games.

"When you send a guy down, the thought is that you must be unhappy with him," Maurice said. "But I'm really pleased."

KABERLE A KID AT HEART

Defenceman Tomas Kaberle spent Wednesday night at the Prague Night Of Glamour at Hart House to benefit a charity the Czech defenceman supports that will bring First Nations children to a Leafs game.

Kaberle is donating money so kids from the White Dog Reserve in northern Ontario can be flown in for the Dec. 29 home game against the New York Rangers.

"I had some letters from them and I seem to be their hero," Kaberle said. "Some friends are setting the trip up and I'm contributing. You want the kids in that area to do as well as possible."

NETMINDING ISSUES

Maurice would not commit to using Andrew Raycroft in goal tonight in Buffalo in one of the few buildings where he has had decent road success. That would keep Vesa Toskala fresh for tomorrow's Hall of Fame game at the Air Canada Centre against the Rangers.


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