After a lackluster showing in Colorado Saturday night, the Dallas Stars will try to get back on track when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Air Canada Centre.
The Stars lost 5-2 Saturday night and were outshot 47-24. Those 47 shots against matched a season-high and the Stars also allowed a season-high seven power play opportunities. They were on their heels most of the night, and the hope is it will be a better effort tonight against the Maple Leafs, who are riding a four-game points streak.
“I expect the energy level and the skating to be back up,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought we looked as flat as we could in Colorado. We had been going pretty good, our north-south game was pretty good. We didn’t have much of a north-south game (Saturday) and that area has to improve.”
Defenseman Alex Goligoski, who missed Monday’s practice with a lower body injury, skated Tuesday morning, and it appears he will be in tonight. All seven defensemen came off the ice about the same time, so it’s not clear who will be the scratch tonight.
Ales Hemsky is expected to see time on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Hemsky has scored just one goal in 23 games, but Ruff has seen progress in Hemsky’s game recently.
“He’s had some great opportunities, and he’s gotten pretty down on himself when he’s missed those opportunities,” Ruff said. “I’m just trying to get him to play more our game, and I think lately he has been doing a better job of that.”
Ryan Garbutt will be back in the lineup after sitting out the last two games due to a suspension for kneeing Edmonton forward Taylor Hall.
Colton Sceviour was the lone forward to skate late, so it appears he will sit out tonight. It would be the third healthy scratch in the past five games for Sceviour.
Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice for the Stars, so it appears he will be back in net after getting the night off Saturday against Colorado.
Maple Leafs watch
Jonathan Bernier will make his sixth straight start in goal for the Maple Leafs tonight. He is 8-5-3 with a 2.59 goals against average and .917 save percentage this season.
Forward Leo Komarov is out with a head injury suffered in Saturdays’ game against Washington.
Who: Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs
Where: Air Canada Centre
When: 6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Ales Hemsky
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Travis Moen
Trevor Daley – Jason Demers
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jamie Oleksiak – Jordie Benn
Scratched: Colton Sceviour
Injured: RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip), D Patrik Nemeth (arm)
Maple Leafs projected lineup
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Joffrey Lupul - Nazem Kadri - Mike Santorelli
Daniel Winnik - Peter Holland - David Clarkson
David Booth - Trevor Smith - Richard Panik
Cody Franson – Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner – Stephane Robidas
Morgan Rielly – Korbinian Holzer
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.