Leafs ready to take care of business

Toronto Maple Leafs Nazem Kadri (L) and Detroit Red Wings Jan Mursak fight for the puck....

Toronto Maple Leafs Nazem Kadri (L) and Detroit Red Wings Jan Mursak fight for the puck. REUTERS/Jeffrey Kowalsky

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:43 PM ET

It will be the ninth pre-season game in 12 nights, an exhausting stretch for the Maple Leafs but there is still something to be accomplished.

When the young team meets the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, it's about clearing their heads.

"I think it's important tonight that we take care of business," goaltender J-S Giguere said following an optional game-day skate at the ACC. "We don't want to put any doubt in our heads." It's dangerous to read too much into any pre-season result, but Friday's 7-3 loss to the Wings in the Motor City isn't the frame of mind the team would prefer heading into their final four days of preparation for the regular season.

"It was not a good thing for our team," Giguere said. "It is important that we bounce right back tonight and have a good outing and then at least we can go into those four days feeling good about ourselves."

Helping matters is the fact that the Red Wings will bring a team that will far more resemble the team's AHL farm team than the one the Leafs saw the previous night. None of the top two lines will make the quick trip, for example.

The Leafs, meanwhile, will get a boost with the return of defenceman Luke Schenn, who has missed the past few days due to a nagging back injury.

The third-year D-man said it was difficult to get in and out of his car and even to bend down the past few days but aggressive re-hab has him ready to go.

"We're not going to base the start of the regular season on the last couple games of the pre-season, but it definitely helps feeling better about yourself going into the last week of the pre-season," Schenn said.

"We are well aware of the start we got off to last year."

Also returning is forward Clarke MacArthur, who sat out the past two games with a minor groin injury.

With Saturday's morning skate an optional session, it is unclear exactly who coach Ron Wilson will start against the Wings, but earlier in the week he said he was intending to ice the lineup he will go with when the Leafs begin the season here Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

The projected lineup for the Leafs will likely look like this:

Kris Versteeg-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel Clarke MacArthur-Mikhail Grabovski-Nik Kulemin
Freddie Sjostrom-Tim Brent-Colby Armstrong
Colton Orr-Christian Hanson-Mike Brown

And on defence ...

Dion Phaneuf-Francois Beauchemin,
Tomas Kaberle-Mike Komisarek
Luke Schenn-Carl Gunnarsson.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca
twitter.com/@longleysunsport


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