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game preview

Maple Leafs at Stars preview

Spezza returns to Dallas for first time since signing with Toronto in offseason

by Josh Clark / Independent Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (26-17-7) at STARS (28-17-4)

7:30 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, FS-SW, NHL.TV


The Game

Jason Spezza will return to face the Dallas Stars for the first time since signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the offseason when the two teams play at American Airlines Center on Wednesday.

The forward signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs on July 1 after playing the previous five seasons in Dallas, where he had 228 points (81 goals, 147 assists) in 379 games.

Toronto, which won 5-2 against the Nashville Predators on Monday, is 2-3-2 in its past seven games after going 9-0-1 in its previous ten. The Maple Leafs have scored at least four goals in seven straight road games, tying their record they previously set from Oct. 27-Nov. 18, 1981, and from Oct. 5-Nov. 2, 1983.

Dallas defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime on Monday for its second win in five games.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs forward William Nylander has seven points (four goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak.

Stars goalie Ben Bishop is 5-1-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in his past seven games.


They said it

"The offense will be hard to come by, so we want to make good on our chances. We also have to realize that we have to be patient and disciplined. They're a team that defends really well, transitions when you're vulnerable, and gets going the other way." -- Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe 

"They can score, and I love their creativity. They're great on the rush and you can see them making a concerted effort to playing more structured defensively. We played a very disciplined, solid game against Tampa and took the approach that we'll get our offense from the defense. We'll take that same approach against Toronto." -- Stars coach Rick Bowness 


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- Mitchell Marner

Alexander Kerfoot -- John Tavares -- William Nylander

Andreas Johnsson -- Pierre Engvall -- Kasperi Kapanen

Trevor Moore -- Frederik Gauthier -- Jason Spezza

Jake Muzzin -- Justin Holl

Travis Dermott -- Tyson Barrie

Rasmus Sandin -- Cody Ceci

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Dmytro Timashov, Martin Marincin, Tyler Gaudet

Injured: Morgan Rielly (fractured foot), Ilya Mikheyev (wrist laceration)


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Denis Gurianov -- Jason Dickinson -- Joe Pavelski

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Mattias Janmark -- Justin Dowling -- Corey Perry

Esa Lindell -- Roman Polak

Jamie Oleksiak -- Miro Heiskanen

Andrej Sekera -- John Klingberg

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Stephen Johns, Taylor Fedun

Injured: Roope Hintz (upper body)


Status report

Hintz, a forward, is day to day. … Cogliano (lower body) was on the ice for morning skate and is a game-time decision.


Stat pack

Marner has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past 11 games. … Seguin has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in a six-game point streak against Toronto. … Benn has four goals in his past five games.

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