A rare night off

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

The Leafs get a rare night off this evening. How rare? Tonight will mark the first time in 12 years without a Saturday game (not because of an all-star game, Christmas or an Olympic Games). The Leafs will, in fact, be off for on three Saturday nights this season, tonight, as well as Dec. 27 and Jan. 17. The Leafs also will be off on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 because of the all-star weekend. Tonight will mark the first Saturday night in the regular season (not including the all-star weekends, Olympic tournaments and Christmas breaks) that the Maple Leafs will not play since March 16, 1996.

NICE CHANGE OF SCENERY

Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo has played well since being traded to the St. Louis Blues along with Alex Steen for Buffalo native Lee Stempniak on Nov. 24. Colaiacovo, who scored in the Blues' 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, has a goal and four assists for the Blues and is playing on that team's No. 1 power-play unit. Steen picked up his first points as a Blue in a 6-3 win over Nashville on Monday, a goal and an assist.

"It's starting to loosen up a little bit," Steen said. "Coming from Toronto, I was struggling with my confidence, to be honest with you. I came over here, it's a little hectic in the beginning after you get traded. There's a lot of new things, new people ... I'm starting to feel in harmony and hopefully get my confidence back that I had before."

Stempniak, who played in his hometown last night, has a goal and two assists for the Leafs.

AROUND THE NET

And speaking for former Leafs, Vancouver Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood has 11 goals on 30 shots, for an NHL-leading 36.7% scoring percentage. Toronto rookie Mikhail Grabovski is 16th, scoring on 20.8% of his shots. He has 10 goals on 48 shots ... Grabovski is (heading into last night's games) fourth in rookie scoring with 18 points. The rookie scoring leader is Derick Brassard of the Columbus Blue Jackets (9-14-23) ... The Leafs goaltending tandem of Vesa Toskala and Curtis Joseph sport a goals-against average of 3.30, 27th overall in the NHL.


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