Tucker will be available, and Wellwood and Peca could be ready for playoffs

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Should the Leafs' bid to land a playoff berth succeed - they were tied for the eighth and final berth when they practised Friday - activating the three valuable forwards would be a huge boost.

"Potentially, we could have all of them back," said head coach Paul Maurice.

The hairline fractures in the foot Tucker hurt Dec. 26 are healing, Wellwood is rehabbing from the hernia surgery he had just before New Year's, and Peca is ready to discard the cane he's been using to help support the leg that was broken last autumn.

"Mike Peca, believe it or not, has been able to do quite a bit," said Maurice. "He is a fast healer."

While his team has earned more points on the road than at home this season, Maurice says better days lie ahead at Air Canada Centre because of the team's overall improvement in recent weeks.

"I think that we will be a very good home team coming down the stretch," he predicted.

The Leafs play the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

Getting a share of eighth place is a just reward for a team that has worked so hard.

"We've played well for quite some time now and we needed to stay in contention for a spot," said Maurice.

The Boston Bruins visit on Tuesday, and the Leafs hit the road for games against the New York Islanders on Thursday and at Philadelphia next Saturday.

"This is going to get a lot tighter than it is now within the next three weeks," Maurice said of the standings logjams. "But the fact that we're right in the mix now allows us to be positive."



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