Leafs insert Kulemin in lineup

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:17 PM ET

With Leafs winger Nikolai Kulemin ready to return for tonight's game at the Air Canada Centre, Jiri Tlusty's latest stint with the big team is over.

Kulemin, who has recovered from an ankle injury, is expected to be in the lineup when the Leafs face the Boston Bruins in the final game before the NHL All-Star Break for both teams.

Kulemin has missed the past four games and is likely to be back at his regular spot on a line with Nik Hagman and Mikhail Grabovski.

Tlusty, who has four points in 15 games this season, was returned to the Marlies and is expected to be in action for the AHL team for their game tonight in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Leafs could use any type of a boost offensively, especially at home. The team hasn't scored a goal at the Air Canada Centre in more than 127 minutes including back-to-back shutout losses to the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators.

The Leafs would like to do their part to liven the atmosphere at the ACC but wouldn't mind some help from the fans, who can often be among the quietest in the league.

"We want our crowd to be as loud as it can be from the start of the game to the finish," Leafs forward Matt Stajan said after this morning's gameday skate. "We would love to have that on a nightly basis, to make this a tough building for a team to come into.

"We get it some nights. Obviously we would like it more. We have to do a better job of giving them some excitement but we hope they can bring some excitement and energy as well."

The Leafs have an 8-10-4 record at home but have dropped five of their past six overall as they are mired in one of their worst stretches of the season.

"We show anxiety playing at home, performance anxiety," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "I think basically what we've just got to do is find a way to relax early."

The Leafs will disperse for the all-star break festivities, which take place in Montreal this weekend. The Leafs return to action next Tuesday in Minnesota.


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