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Maple Leafs' Reimer starts fifth straight, faces Stars

by Steve Hunt

MAPLE LEAFS (2-8-4) at STARS (12-3-0)


DALLAS -- Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer will make a fifth straight start Tuesday in a game against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock turns to Reimer looking to end Toronto's three-game losing streak.

"Well, I think he's playing more confident," Babcock said. "The other night in Washington, he didn't let any of those squeakers in. [Reimer] has played well for us. He's battled and I think as he's battled, he's looking more comfortable. The puck's sticking to him better. It's not coming off him all the time and that's a comfort thing, so good for him."

In his eight starts, Reimer is 2-2-3 with a 2.57 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage.

Babcock is keeping most of his forward lines and defensive pairs intact from a 3-2 shootout loss at the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Center Daniel Winnik (lower body) did not participate in the morning skate. Peter Holland will replace Winnik on the third line, centering a line alongside Nick Spaling on the left and Joffrey Lupul on the right.

Defenseman Dion Phaneuf did not practice Monday because of the flu, but he skated Tuesday morning and will likely play on Toronto's second defensive pair alongside Jake Gardiner.

Dallas has won three straight, but the Stars hope to avoid a repeat performance from their last home game right after a long and successful road trip, a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 24.

"Well, (we're) just trying to play a sound game, not be in a hurry to do something big right off the bat," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had some missed assignments last game we played like this that hurt us. Don't want to get chasing the game because if you get chasing the game it'll hurt you, so just play a strong two-way game."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairs intact from a 4-1 win at the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday with one exception. On the fourth line, left wing Antoine Roussel, who missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, returns alongside rookie center Radek Faksa and right wing Valeri Nichushkin.

"Just the energy, the work ethic, the penalty killing, we know what he brings," Ruff said of Roussel. "You don't have to ask for Antoine to work hard. He's a workaholic when it comes to getting on the ice and I expect more of the same."

Goalie Antti Niemi will make his 10th start of the season, ending a streak of three consecutive starts by Kari Lehtonen.

Here are the projected lineups:


James van RiemsdykNazem KadriLeo Komarov

Shawn MatthiasTyler BozakPA Parenteau

Nick SpalingPeter Holland - Joffrey Lupul

Michael GrabnerByron FroeseBrad Boyes

Matt HunwickMorgan Rielly

Jake GardinerDion Phaneuf

Scott HarringtonRoman Polak

James Reimer

Antoine Bibeau

Injured: Jonathan Bernier (lower body), Stephane Robidas (leg/groin), Daniel Winnik (lower body)

Scratched: Frank Corrado, Martin Marincin


Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkCody EakinJason Spezza

Ales HemskyVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Antoine RousselRadek FaksaValeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body), Curtis McKenzie (hip), Travis Moen (upper body)

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Devin Shore

Status report: Niemi makes his first start since Nov. 2 at Toronto, a span of three games.

Who's hot: Toronto is 4-for-8 on the power play in its past three games. … Seguin is riding an eight-game point streak and has 19 points (10 goals) in 21 career games against the Maple Leafs.

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