March 14, 2011
Brent back after 'scary' incident
By DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The Maple Leafs were back on the ice in full force on Monday morning after having been rewarded for their hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres with an optional skate on Sunday.
Toronto (30-29-10) was in a must-win situation on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre against the division rival Sabres and proved it was up for the task.
But still in 10th spot in the East and six points out of a playoff spot after weekend play, there is no time for the Leafs to bask in the glory of their victory. With only 13 games remaining in their regular-season schedule, every game is a must-win.
Tonight they face dangerous conference rival Tampa Bay (38-22-9) at the ACC for their final meeting this season. The Lightning possesses among its arsenal Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and the league’s top scorer, Steven Stamkos, who has 43 goals this season.
“We obviously have to keep stepping it up here,” said Leafs forward Clarke MacArthur, who notched his 20th goal of the season against the Sabres. “We have to be good every night (from now on).”
The Lightning has been struggling of late, only winning once in its past seven games (1-4-2) and Toronto hopes to take advantage of the slumping team.
“I rather play them now than if they were 10-0,” MacArthur said. “But they’ve got lots of dangerous weapons and we’re going to have to go to the body and hit them and make it a tough night for them.”
Back to help with the Leafs with their cause is energy forward Tim Brent. Brent had to leave Saturday’s win over the Sabres after taking Tyler Ennis’ stick in the left eye.
“It was one of those scary things that happen,” said Brent, who wasn’t wearing a visor during the incident. “I lost my vision right away. I couldn’t see out of it for the first five, 10 minutes. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually felt the blade hit my eye. Originally, there was a little cut and I think the blood went in my eye and blinded me a little bit. It was frightening. It makes you wonder why guys don’t wear shields … It’s something the doctors are making me do now (wear a visor). I was planning to do for next season anyway, but it’s something you kind of don’t want to do halfway through the season to kind of get used to it. But it’s kind of forced my hand now.”
The Leafs could also have Fredrik Sjostrom back. The Swede has been out with an undisclosed upper-body injury since a loss to Philadelphia on Thursday, but said he is ready to go if coach Ron Wilson wants to use him.
“I’m sure it will be a game-time decision,” Sjostrom said. “But I feel like I can play.”
One guy who will definitely be playing is goalie James Reimer (13-6-4, 2.56 GAA, .922 SV%). After another strong game Saturday night, Reimer is back in for his 13th start in the past 14 games.