A party without Marty

ROB LONGLEY

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

The Leafs face the red-hot New Jersey Devils tonight at the Air Canada Centre, winners of nine of their past 10 now that they've recovered from the potentially devastating loss of their all-star goalie, Martin Brodeur.

But Toronto can take heart that in their previous meeting with the Devils, they turned in one of their best performances of the season, a comeback 6-5 shootout win.

"For our team, it was a big win," said Leafs centre Matt Stajan, who scored twice and added an assist in the comeback victory in Newark, N.J. "We were playing back-to-back and had travelled ... we didn't play well the night before against Tampa. It was a big statement for our team.

"We showed that we can play with any team in the league."

The Leafs fired 48 shots on Brodeur, the most he had faced in a regular-season game. He injured his elbow in his next game and hasn't played since.

INJURY WARD

Forward Niklas Hagman continues to fight through the concussion he sustained when he took a knee to the head against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 6. Hagman skated prior to yesterday's practice at Lakeshore Lions Arena but did not participate in regular drills.

"We're expecting to get clearance (from doctors)," Wilson said. "Hopefully he'll be ready to play on Saturday."

Two of the other prominent injured players aren't expected to be back nearly so quickly. Rookie defenceman Luke Schenn, who is recovering from a knee injury is "two to three weeks away" according to Wilson as is forward Jamal Mayers (hand).

LOOSE LEAFS

The Leafs will be trying to win their third in a row for the first time this season. This is the fourth time the Leafs have won two in a row and they haven't had a three-game streak since March ... The Devils are 9-2 since Nov. 15, in part because former Leafs backup Scott Clemmensen has won eight of his past nine starts after winning the job from Kevin Weekes ... The Leafs have killed 24 of their last 26 penalties ... After turning down an offer from the Philadelphia Flyers this week, it appears that former Leafs captain Mats Sundin has narrowed his options to just a pair of teams: The New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.


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