The bruised right foot Phil Kessel suffered when a pass from linemate James van Riemsdyk bounced off him last Saturday is not expected to keep him out of Tuesday’s game against the Calgary Flames.
While Kessel did not take part in the Leafs’ one practice since Saturday and also skipped Tuesday’s optional game-day skate, Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said the right winger told him he “is available” to play against the Flames.
Also missing from the skate were goaltender Jonathan Bernier, defenceman Dion Phaneuf and forwards Mason Raymond, Nikolai Kulemin, Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland. All of them are expected to play as well.
Bernier will start his fourth consecutive game as the Leafs face the difficult task of breaking their eight-game losing streak and winning all of their last six regular-season games to have any chance of making the playoffs.
"Our spirits are up, our morale is up,” Phaneuf said. “That's the way you have to conduct business."
Carlyle was asked if the Leafs’ playoff chances are realistic and said they are “realistic if you win." The best way to do that, he added, is “don't look past tonight."
The coach said lineup changes are possible but there really isn’t anything major Carlyle can do with his lineup. Unless you consider Colton Orr and Paul Ranger moving into the fourth line and third defence pair, respectively, major changes.