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Friday, March 15, 2013
Leafs' Joffrey Lupul set to return

ESPN.com news services

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting an important piece back as they attempt to stop a season-high, four-game winless streak.

Winger Joffrey Lupul is set to return Saturday night when Toronto hosts Winnipeg in a big game for both clubs, with the Jets just one point behind the seventh-place Leafs in the Eastern Conference.

Lupul, 29, has missed the past 25 games with a fractured right forearm.

"It's a huge game against Winnipeg," Lupul told TSN after practice Friday. "The team's looking forward to it, and I want to be out there."

Skating on a line with Nazem Kadri and Nik Kulemin at practice Friday, Lupul said he felt strong enough to come back.

"It's probably not 100 percent," he said. "It's not like it was before it was broken, but it's at a point where the doctor think it's safe to play.

"I've been shooting and practicing for probably a week now, so the next test is to go out for a game. They've asked me what I felt, and I said I felt confident that it's strong enough, and so do they. I'm not going to think about it at all."

To clear space for Lupul on the 23-man roster, the Leafs traded center David Steckel to Anaheim on Friday in exchange for minor league prospect Ryan Lasch and a seventh-round pick in the 2014 draft.

In Anaheim, Steckel gets reunited with head coach Bruce Boudreau, who previously coached the forward in Washington.