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Leafs will get back Bozak (oblique) tonight

San Jose Sharks v Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 3: Tyler Bozak #42 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the San Jose Sharks during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 3, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sharks defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Claus Andersen

After missing 12 consecutive contests, 27-year-old forward Tyler Bozak is set to play tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, according to TSN’s Jonas Siegel. He might not be a star player, but that’s big news for the Maple Leafs.

Before he suffered an oblique injury, Bozak was averaging 21:04 minutes per game and playing in all situations. He wasn’t off to a good start on the draw, but that’s still an important aspect of his game and an area where the Maple Leafs have struggled mightily this season.

Plus, as Maple Leafs assistant GM Claude Loiselle noted, Bozak’s injury has stretched the Maple Leafs a little thin and forced players into roles they’re less accustomed to. This will certainly help solidify them up the middle while Dave Bolland continues to recover from an ankle injury.

Toronto has gone 5-5-2 during Bozak’s absence, with four of its five victories coming in either a shootout or overtime. The team has slipped away from the pack in the battle for the Atlantic Division title and is instead in danger of losing their playoff spot entirely. They have just a three-point edge in the race for the second Wild Card spot.

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