DALLAS -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into American Airlines Center on Tuesday to play the Dallas Stars on a three-game losing streak, but coach Randy Carlyle isn't calling his team desperate in its final game before the Christmas break.
"Desperation can take people out of their confidence, take confidence away," Carlyle said. "We don't want to go into the break with four losses. Who does? Who does in pro sports? We don't want to lose any games, simple as that."
Toronto lost 4-0 at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and Dallas overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period before winning 6-5 at the Edmonton Oilers to cap a perfect road trip through Western Canada at 3-0-0. Even though the Stars have won four straight, coach Lindy Ruff is always alert for signs of a letdown, especially against the struggling Maple Leafs, who remain a potent offensive team.
"Well, we just played three teams that were on losing streaks, so we should be used to that," Ruff said. "I always feel it's a dangerous game. Again tonight, [Toronto is] a team that's desperate to win and has had maybe a little bit of a tough time. We got to be ready to play."
Carlyle changed his lines in morning skate, going with a top line of left wing Joffrey Lupul, center Tyler Bozak and right wing Phil Kessel. The second line was left wing James van Riemsdyk, center Nazem Kadri and right wing Mike Santorelli, with a third line of left wing Daniel Winnik, center Peter Holland and right wing David Clarkson.
The fourth line of left wing David Booth, center Trevor Smith and right wing Richard Panik remains intact.
Caryle is making one change to his defensive pairs. Stephane Robidas, who played 700 games over nearly 11 seasons in Dallas and will be honored with a video tribute during the first stoppage in play Tuesday, will be paired with Morgan Rielly. Robidas is looking forward to his first regular-season game in Dallas since being traded to the Anaheim Ducks last March.
Robidas signed with Toronto on July 1.
"I spent most of my career here. My life was here," Robidas said. "I even left on really good terms. They were honest and fair with me the whole way and I got nothing but good things to say about the city of Dallas and the organization."
Goalie Jonathan Bernier will start for the Maple Leafs.
Ruff is keeping his forward lines intact from the end of the Edmonton game along with the same defensive pairs.
Goalie Kari Lehtonen will start a seventh straight game for Dallas. Lehtonen was pulled midway through the second period Sunday after allowing four goals on 19 shots.
Here are the projected lineups:
Joffrey Lupul – Tyler Bozak – Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk – Nazem Kadri – Mike Santorelli
Daniel Winnik – Peter Holland – David Clarkson
David Booth – Trevor Smith – Richard Panik
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner – Roman Polak
Morgan Rielly – Stephane Robidas
Scratched: Korbinian Holzer
Injured: Leo Komarov (concussion)
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Jason Spezza – Erik Cole
Cody Eakin – Travis Morin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
John Klingberg - Alex Goligoski
Jyrki Jokipakka – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Scratched: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin
Status report: Holzer will be scratched with Robidas returning to the lineup. … Moen and Oleksiak will likely be scratched for a second straight game.
Who's hot: Kadri (goal, two assists) and Santorelli each had three points in a 3-2 overtime victory against Dallas on Dec. 2 at Air Canada Centre. … Seguin leads the NHL with seven multi-goal games this season.