Connolly could play Saturday

The Maple Leafs were without Tim Connolly when they opened their season Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre, but there is a slight chance the centre could play at home on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.

“I’m not anticipating him playing Saturday, if he does it’s a bonus,” coach Ron Wilson said Thursday morning. “But if he comes to me and says he wants to play Saturday, if he thinks he’s ready, then he’ll probably play.”

Connolly was placed on the injured reserve list Wednesday, but has practised with the team for three straight days and appears to be recovering from the upper-body injury he suffered in camp last week.

“He’s practised very well the last couple of days. If this was a first-round playoff game, I’m pretty sure he’d be in the line-up,” Wilson added.

The Leafs signed the oft-injured Connolly to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million in the summer. He is expected to centre the Leafs’ top unit, between wingers Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.