TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs could have defenseman Nikita Zaitsev back in the lineup Wednesday in their game against the New York Islanders at the Air Canada Centre.
Zaitsev suffered a broken foot Dec. 15 in a game against the Detroit Red Wings and has not played since, missing 17 contests.
"It was pretty evident we missed him," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.
The coach said that it would be determined at the morning skate Wednesday if Zaitsev will be in the lineup for the game as Toronto plays for the first time since the All-Star break.
The Maple Leafs went into the break on a high, winning two games in a row, finishing with a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
The Islanders, meanwhile, returned from the break Tuesday night and lost 4-1 to the Florida Panthers.
Islanders center Casey Cizikas returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing six games with an upper-body injury. He was used in a different position Tuesday, seeing time on the left wing.
"Excited to get him back," Islanders coach Doug Weight said. "He does a lot, plays in a lot of different areas. Certainly, the reliability and the responsibility he has defensively, forechecking, he has a big engine and brings a lot of energy." >> Read more
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