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Game Journal: Game 11 - Stars vs. Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

4:00 PM: Tonight's officials will be Eric Furlatt and Greg Kimmerly while David Brisebois and Mark Shewchyk will handle the linesman duties. You can tune into tonight's game on Sportsnet, Sportsnet The FAN 590 and by following the Leafs on Twitter.

In the meantime, get set for tonight's game with Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill.

3:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Stars.

Toronto Maple Leafs
21 van Riemsdyk - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov
23 Matthias - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau
26 Winnik - 16 Spaling - 19 Lupul
40 Grabner - 56 Froese - 28 Boyes

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf
2 Hunwick - 44 Rielly
52 Marincin - 46 Polak

34 Reimer
45 Bernier

Dallas Stars

14 Benn - 91 Seguin - 10 Sharp
12 Faksa - 90 Spezza - 83 Hemsky
13 Janmark - 20 Eakin - 43 Nichushkin
21 Roussel - 38 Fiddler - 22 Sceviour

33 Goligoski - 3 Klingberg
47 Oduya - 4 Demers
15 Nemeth - 24 Benn

31 Niemi
32 Lehtonen

2:45 PM: Leafs TV also caught up with Michael Grabner, Brad Boyes and Byron Froese. Take a look...

1:30 PM: Leafs forward P-A Parenteau spoke with reporters following Monday's morning skate. Here's what he had to say...

On joining a line centered by Tyler Bozak:
Tyler's a good player, hopefully it's going to work out tonight. I like playing with guys that have a lot of skills and like to see guys so I can make plays with them. We have a big guy on the left side with Matthias who likes to go get the puck. I think it could be something good. It's up to us to work hard and make something happen out there.

What happens when you have a day off after a game like Saturday?
Obviously you try not to think about it during your day off but it's almost impossible. It was such a bad performance from us last game. I wouldn't say we gave up but after they scored that third goal we sort of had that here we go again feeling. It's something we have to work on and it would be nice to score the first goal in a few of those games. We haven't got the bounces, I know we've been saying that but it's true. We've got to keep working and keep doing the right things.

What isn't about getting scored on that puts you on your heels?
You know in the NHL when you get down two, three to nothing, most nights you're not going to win. You've got to give your head a shake and you've got to keep competing. That's something we got away from last game there, we just kind of gave up on each other, on the organization. We can't do that. We have to keep battling no matter what happens out there.

How do you feel about your own game?
I feel okay, it's tough to get confidence when things aren't going well for the team. You've got to stay with it, that's the key and we've been talking about it. I'm an older guy and I can tell those young guys that things don't go your way all the time in this League but you have to keep working and it's going to come back at some point. That's what I'm trying to do. I feel pretty good when I have the puck but we have to have it a little more too. It's great that I'm playing with Tyler tonight, that might make things happen.

How do you try to be more patient in the scoring areas rather than grip the stick too tight?
We all know how to play and how to score, that's why we're here. I think we've got to get back to basics and you do have to take your time sometimes a little more. It's a quick league now, it is very, very fast out there. You don't have much time but sometimes you have to pick a corner or pick a spot to beat those goalies and do that.

12:30 PM: Here's what Leafs blueliner Morgan Rielly had to say following today's morning skate...

Leafs TV

How do you prepare yourself for the grind of the upcoming schedule?
We're looking forward to it. As pro athletes we want to be playing as often as we can. We're looking forward to getting back at it tonight and then we've got to practice and play and practice and play. We're looking forward to the challenge. We're ready for it. It's just a matter of taking care of the bodies and going back to work.

Is there confidence developing in the process?
Yeah at times, we've had times where we've played really well. We just haven't got the results, we haven't got many bounces. It's just a matter of keeping with it, keep working hard, playing the game plan. That's the most important thing, we can't turn the page and just play like we used to. We've got to go out and do it and keep working at it and play a team game.

What stands out about Seguin and Benn?
They're good players, two young guys that know how to put the puck in the net. They've had a great start this season and when you're out there, you've got to be aware of them and play them tight. They're good players so it's a challenge but I think we're ready for it.

Is it a fine line between where the team can be from where they have been the past month?
Yeah, we're getting chances, there's no question about it, we're hitting posts but it's just a matter of keeping with it, keep chipping away and it's just a matter of time before we starting getting bounces and pucks start going into the net. We've got to keep with it, keep working hard and just chip away.

Do you appreciate coach trying to shoulder the blame for the performance on Saturday?
He's great that way. He takes responsibility but as players we know what happens on the ice is up to us. He's a great coach, he's been teaching us a lot this year, he's had a lot on his plate. As players we've got to take care of what happens on the ice. He can take the blame if he wants because that's the type of person he is, he's high character, but as players we've got to take responsibility for what happens on the ice. We're not being good enough, we've got to turn that around. Hopefully we can do that tonight.

What's the biggest difference between Babcock and past coaches you've had?
Just about everything. He's changed a lot, he's a great teacher, he wants the best people around and he wants us to play hard every night. It's been good so far but I think we'd like to get more wins for him and make life a little easier.

12:00 PM: Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock shared his updates with the media ahead of Monday's game. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

On lineup changes:

Spaling is in, Boyes will be a game time decision, Reimer is starting.

If Boyes gets back, what would you like to see from him?
I'd like to see, obviously the power play is -- he's lining up today on the fourth line. Is he a fourth line player? A third line player? A second line player? That's going to be up to him. On the fourth line you like to have penalty killers, a power play guy you'd have today, you'd like to have someone who gets ice time. They're not getting ice time so he can provide that. Confidence in this game is fleeting, we have it one minute, you don't have it the next. When you don't have it, how do you get it back? I know you earn it, no one can give it to you. He's a guy who we think can help us with the way he shoots the puck and his hockey sense. He's got to be competitive and make plays, trust yourself.

Is it a schedule thing with going to Reimer tonight?
No, Berns got bumped last game and isn't feeling as good so we're going to go with Reimer.

Is there a thin line between where you are and where you want to be offensively?
I don't buy any of that. To me I just go through each game, the scoring chances for and the scoring chances against and I count how many times we were loose and how many times we were tight and didn't give up much. To me the whole thing that goes together is we obviously haven't been good enough. We haven't won games. I liked the way we played seven out of ten, three times I didn't like us at all. I've said a number of times that when things go wrong the sticktoitiveness that you need to be good at anything in life hasn't been what we're strong at. What we have to get better at, we have to trust one another, trust our structure and our work ethic and take care of the puck and have some success. I'm still a big believer that we can win with this group so that's what I'm selling every day.

Who's out from last game?
That's a game time decision.

On Jamie Benn:
He's not bad... I'm a big fan of him because he's got some nastiness to him. He has fun playing the game, he's not scared of any situation. I like good, good pros that love being good pros. He loves to score, he loves to check, he can play any way you want. He just shows up to play. He's a good player.

Do you change how you coach with a compressed schedule coming up?
I didn't even know it was compressed, I just know we have a game tonight and that's it.

11:30 AM: The Toronto Maple Leafs play their second game of a four game homestand tonight when they host the Dallas Stars.

The Leafs are coming off of an underwhelming showing against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, taking a 4-0 loss. Jonathan Bernier made 28 saves while the Leafs were unable to solve Marc-Andre Fleury with 21 shots on goal at the other end of the rink. James Reimer is slated to get the start in goal against Dallas.

The Stars are one of the NHL's top teams in the early-going of the season with a 9-2-0 record and 4-1-0 mark on the road. On Saturday, the Stars beat the Sharks by a 5-3 margin, continuing their run as one of the League's most potent offensive groups as five different players scored goals in the win. Antti Niemi stopped 26 shots to improve his record to 6-1-0. If Niemi doesn't get the call again, Kari Lehtonen will start for Dallas.

Stay tuned for projected lineups, comments from Coach Babcock and the Leafs and more.

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