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At the Rink blog

Stars look to start streak, snap Maple Leafs' run

Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 2:40 PM

By Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

DALLAS -- After shutting out the Minnesota Wild 4-0 on Tuesday to earn their second win of 2014, the Dallas Stars hope to build on that strong effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will hit the ice Thursday at American Airlines Center sporting a six-game winning streak.

"[They are a] real good transition team, real good speed up front," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Toronto. "Three or four of their guys can kill you on transition. Real good team at creating odd-numbered chances with their speed. Their power play is clicking. I think their goaltending right now has been as good as I've seen it in a while."

Ruff is keeping his lines intact from the win against Minnesota with one minor change to his fourth line. Rich Peverley, who centered that line Tuesday, will switch spots with left wing Shawn Horcoff.

Kari Lehtonen will start his sixth straight game in net for Dallas.

One thing Ruff said he expects to see against the Maple Leafs, a team that like his own plays with plenty of speed, is a true back-and-forth game with plenty of scoring chances for both clubs.

"I think you're going to see a game that there is going to be a lot of speed in," he said. "You're going to see some pretty good chances because you've got two teams that are good in the transition game."

Toronto last lost Jan. 10 at the Washington Capitals and arrived in Dallas on Wednesday, but the Maple Leafs had an off day after beating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said he is keeping his lines and defensive pairings identical to the win against the Avalanche. The only change is that goalie Jonathan Bernier returns to the crease after James Reimer started Tuesday in Denver.

Carlyle said he likes where his team is at during its current run, but he is constantly vigilant about not letting his players become complacent.

"It's earned every night," Carlyle said. "What we did last night has no bearing on what happens today. We feel good about it but we know we're playing a hockey club that shut out the Minnesota Wild and kind of ran them over with their skating game and got a big game from their goaltender. They only gave up 16 shots so we'd better be ready."

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

MAPLE LEAFS

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Nikolai Kulemin - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul

Mason Raymond - Peter Holland - Troy Bodie

Carter Ashton - Jay McClement - Colton Orr

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Cody Franson - Tim Gleason

Jake Gardiner - Morgan Rielly

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Mark Fraser, Paul Ranger

Injured: Dave Bolland (ankle), David Clarkson (elbow), Frazer McLaren (shoulder), Trevor Smith (hand)

STARS

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Valeri Nichushkin

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt

Ray Whitney - Vernon Fiddler - Erik Cole

Rich Peverley - Shawn Horcoff - Alex Chiasson

Alex Goligoski - Trevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Brenden Dillon

Aaron Rome - Sergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Dustin Jeffrey

Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg)

I didn't think it would actually work, but it ended up working, so I'm thanking my lucky stars tonight.

— Columbus forward Nick Foligno on scoring the overtime goal after telling the Blue Jackets in the locker room that he would win the game