Vanek 'unstoppable'

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

While the Leafs need to find a way to add to their own goal production, high on the to-do list tonight will be slowing down Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek, who leads the league with 22 goals -- almost a third of Buffalo's team total.

"He's been pretty much unstoppable," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said yesterday. "So you have to try to minimize the damage and keep the puck out of his hands as much as possible.

"But they are dangerous through their whole lineup."

After a 6-0-2 start, the Sabres have been middle of the road since, entering their first of six contests against the Leafs with a record of 14-11-3. However, they have won three in a row, including comeback wins against Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

JUSTIN'S TIME?

Other than to say it's going to happen, Wilson wouldn't hint at when goaltender Justin Pogge will be called up from the Marlies to get his NHL regular-season debut.

"We're going to do it," Wilson said. "When, I don't know. I haven't really mapped it out with (president and general manager Brian Burke) yet."

Pogge has won four of his past five starts and has a GAA of 2.91 on the season.

AWED BY THE AUD

Other than in a pre-season game, Wilson hasn't had recent experience with the Leafs-Sabres rivalry in which the HSBC Arena is often bustling with Leafs fans.

As a kid growing up across the river in Fort Erie, though, it was a different story. Wilson's father played for the minor pro Buffalo Bisons and the youngster spent plenty of time around the venerable old Memorial Auditorium.

"For the first 13 years of my life, my dad played for the Bisons and that's where we'd hang out and where I probably learned how to play," said Wilson, who has managed to secure an old seat from the Aud, which will be soon torn down, for his rec room. "I can still close my eyes and smell what the old Aud used to be like and recall all those memories."

LOOSE LEAFS

Add Andre Deveaux to the list of Leafs looking forward to playing in Buffalo. The tough forward grew up in Welland and attended many games in Buffalo as a youngster. "There will be quite a contingent there from Welland," Deveaux said ... The Leafs held their annual team Christmas party yesterday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre with players and their families joining in the festivities ... The team will bus down the QEW to Buffalo this morning, taking a pass on the morning skate in favour of an extra night at home ... Wilson said injured defenceman Jonas Frogren isn't likely to return to the lineup until next week.


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