Poni's return imminent

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

There's a chance winger Alexei Ponikarovsky could return to the Maple Leafs lineup tonight from a rib injury.

"Alex is feeling much better, and we will consider him after the morning skate, he is a possible," coach Paul Maurice said. "Most importantly, if he feels he has good range of motion and good strength and can take a hit (he will probably play). He is a really fit guy."

Ponikarovsky has been out since getting hurt against the Atlanta Thrashers on Feb. 23, missing four games. If he does not go tonight, Ponikarovsky indicated he would be ready to play Thursday night in Boston against the Bruins. When Ponikarovsky returns, one of Jeremy Williams, Robbie Earl or Kris Newbury likely will be sitting out.

TOSKALA NOT IMPRESSED

Vesa Toskala has been lauded by his teammates for his stellar goaltending in recent weeks, but the cool Finn apparently thinks statistics are for losers.

Toskala has 26 wins, tying his personal high set last season with the San Jose Sharks.

"It doesn't mean anything," Toskala said. "I've been playing more this year."

DEVILS NOT HOT

The Leafs could be catching the New Jersey Devils at the right time.

Though they are contending for the Eastern Conference title, the Devils have been struggling, losing three in a row, including one in overtime. What's more, the Devils have scored only four goals in their past four games.

"It's a five-man unit out there and we have to score goals coming on the rush," Devils forward Zach Parise told the Bergen Record newspaper. "Everyone has to be involved in the play. That's what we have to get back to."

Still, the Devils won't be pushovers. They've allowed 156 goals, fewest in the Eastern Conference.

"They have played the same way for 20 years, so we don't expect anything different," Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe said. "Good goaltending, solid defence, and good special teams. It's why we will have to be on the top of our game, for sure."


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