STARS (13-9-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (14-11-3)
TV: FS-SW, LEAFS TV
Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2; Toronto 3-5-2
Big story: Injuries have bit the Maple Leafs and Stars hard recently and both teams will enter the game Thursday with some uncertainty regarding their respective leading scorers. Toronto forward Phil Kessel left practice Wednesday with an undisclosed ailment and coach Randy Carlyle said afterward that he was not sure if his top wing would play Thursday. The Stars' Tyler Seguin missed the past two games with concussion-like symptoms following a hit against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Friday, but coach Lindy Ruff said the forward was possible for the game.
Stars: Dallas will close out a brief two-game road trip Thursday and will try to continue its recent success away from American Airlines Center. The Stars won seven of their past eight road games, including a 3-2 victory at the Blackhawks on Tuesday where Antoine Roussel scored the game-winning goal on a penalty shot. But with defensemen Stephane Robidas (broken leg) and Aaron Rome (lower body) on injured reserve and forward Ryan Garbutt (left game Tuesday after blocking shot) questionable for Thursday, the Stars will have a lot to overcome against an equally banged-up Toronto team.
Ruff did not hold a team practice Wednesday as the Stars were scheduled to fly to Toronto, but Seguin was already in the city and scheduled to skate on his own in hopes of playing Thursday.
"[Seguin's] doing well,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News early Wednesday. "He did really well [Monday], he'll be the one guy who will skate [Wednesday], and there's a possibility he could play in Toronto."
Maple Leafs: Toronto lost its past four games (0-2-2) and will need to turn it around while dealing with the possibility of missing some key components to its lineup. In addition to the questionable status of Kessel with what Carlyle called a "tweak in part of his body," center Tyler Bozak (MRI on upper-body injury suffered Tuesday) and right wing Colton Orr (elbow) missed practice Wednesday. And while Joffrey Lupul participated in a portion of the full practice, the forward left the ice and did not return to deal with a continuing groin injury. But there might be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as defenseman Cody Franson (lower body) and forward Nazem Kadri (personal) skated Wednesday and both are hopeful to return to the lineup Thursday. In spite of the mounting injuries, Toronto placed Jerred Smithson on waivers Wednesday. The forward registered zero points and one shot on goal in 13 games played this season.
Carlyle recognizes the difficult road ahead in regards to the injuries, but put much of the responsibility to help the team bounce back on him and his assistants.
"Now it seems like every day we turn around, there's another key piece of the lineup that's not available to us," Carlyle said Wednesday. "I think it's imperative that we, as a coaching staff, show leadership."
Who's hot: Goalie Kari Lehtonen is 1-0-2 with an average of 34 saves per game over his past three starts for Dallas. … Forward James van Riemsdyk has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) over the past four games for Toronto.
Injury report: Robidas and Rome are on injured reserve for the Stars and there was no further update on Seguin or Garbutt as of Wednesday afternoon. … Forward Dave Bolland (knee) is out indefinitely for the Maple Leafs, while Lupul was on the ice ahead of the morning skate Thursday. Franson and Kadri are possible to play, while Kessel, Orr and Bozak are all questionable.
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