The Maple Leafs could get a couple of much-needed reinforcements back, including captain Mats Sundin, for their do-or-die game against the Boston Bruins tomorrow night.
But even the potential welcomed returns of Sundin and Nik Antropov might not be enough to salvage Toronto's playoff hopes, which are precariously dangling by a thread.
A regulation-time loss to the Bruins tomorrow would virtually eliminate the Maple Leafs from post-season contention. The Leafs, who trail the eighth-place Bruins by six points for the final playoff spot with just five games remaining, will have to come up with a better effort than the stinker they turned in during their 6-2 loss to the Bruins last night at the Air Canada Centre.
Antropov and Sundin were the first two players on the ice at Lakeshore Lions Arena this morning, skating for about five minutes before they were joined by their teammates for a full practice.
"The plan is that I will play," said Antropov, who has been out with a knee injury since March 15. "I'll confirm it at the morning skate but if it doesn't swell up or anything, I'll go."
Sundin, sidelined since March 12 with a slight tear of the groin muscle, participated in his first full practice since the injury.
"If it feels as good tomorrow as it did today, I think I'll be able to play," the captain said. "We'll have to see how it goes."
Sundin, who is on a one-year, US$5.5-million contract, was asked if he has given any thought to the notion that he might be spending his final couple of weeks as a Leaf. There are rumblings he could opt for retirement in the off-season.
"I signed a one-year contract because I want to reevaluate how I played and how I feel over the summer," he said. "That has not changed. Right now I'm not even thinking about that stuff."