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Maple Leafs' Reimer to start in goal against Stars

by Mike Brophy /

STARS (9-2-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (1-7-2)

TV: FS-SW, TVA Sports, SNO

TORONTO -- James Reimer will start in goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday against the Dallas Stars.

Jonathan Bernier had started the previous two games. But coach Mike Babcock said that Bernier had gotten banged up a bit during a 4-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and wasn't ready to start Monday.

In four games this season Reimer is 1-1-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .876 save percentage. He last played Oct. 26, when he made 20 saves in a 4-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

Reimer will have the tough task of slowing the Dallas Stars and the League's leading scorer, Jamie Benn. His 17 points are one more than teammate Tyler Seguin, and his nine goals are tied with Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings for the League lead.

Benn has one goal and six assists in seven career games against the Maple Leafs.

"We're treating it like every other game," Benn said. "We need to focus on what we need to do to get two points and that is by doing things right and playing our game. We're happy with our start. We have gotten contributions from every player on the team and the goalies are playing great."

Benn's hot start continues how he left off last season, when he had 12 goals and 23 points in the Stars' final 12 games to win his first Art Ross Trophy.

"It [winning the Art Ross] is something that is pretty hard to do," Benn said. "But … I didn't do it by myself. My teammates gave up a lot for me last year. I think they were looking to pass to me more than shoot."

Benn said there is no magic formula for his increased offensive production.

"I'm just trying to play my game within the team system and play the right way and play hard," he said. "My teammates have been doing a great job and I give them a lot of credit. They are making me look good out there."

Babcock had Benn with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and said Monday that he likes what he has seen from Benn this season.

"He's not bad," Babcock said with a smile. "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 pros that love being a good pro. He loves to score, loves to check, he can play any way you want. He just shows up to play. He's a good player."

Babcock said right wing Brad Boyes, a healthy scratch the past two games, could play against Dallas.

Boyes said he's anxious to get back into the lineup.

"I have to get back to work," Boyes said. "I have to keep things simple and obviously I have to produce on offense. I have to continue to make sure I am doing my part and that I am doing the right things within the system. Any chance I get on offense to create something I have to take advantage."

Boyes, 33, has four points, all assists, in eight games this season. He said he was disappointed in his performance and hopes to make amends upon his return to the lineup.

"Nobody wants to be a healthy scratch," Boyes said. "At the same time there are lots of games left and I have an opportunity tonight. It's up to me to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Babcock said Boyes has to build an identity with the Maple Leafs.

"He was lined up today on the fourth line; is he a fourth-line player, a third-line player or a second-line player?" Babcock said. "It's up to him. On the fourth line you like to have penalty killers. Confidence in the game is fleeting; you have it one minute and you don't have it the next. How do you get it back? I know you earn it. Nobody 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 has to be competitive and make plays."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp

Radek Faksa - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky

Antoine Roussel - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Mattias Janmark - Cody Eakin - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

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

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak, Devin Shore


James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Leo Komarov

Shawn Matthias - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul

Daniel Winnik - Nick Spaling - PA Parenteau

Michael Grabner - Byron Froese - Brad Boyes

Dion Phaneuf - Jake Gardiner

Matt Hunwick - Morgan Rielly

Martin Marincin - Roman Polak

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Injured: Stephane Robidas (lower body), Scott Harrington (upper body)

Scratched: Rich Clune, Peter Holland

Status report: The Stars recalled Shore from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Sunday but he is not expected to play Monday. … Spaling had missed the previous three games because a lower body injury. … Holland is expected to be scratched.

Who's hot: Bozak has a 59.6 percent faceoff win percentage, second in the League among players who have taken at least 70 faceoffs. … Phaneuf had a three-game point scoring streak stopped Saturday against the Penguins. He had one assist in each game. … Rielly had two goals and one assist during a three-game point streak that ended Saturday. … Klingberg has points in seven straight games. … Sharp has four goals in the past three games.

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