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Stars-Maple Leafs Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs

Thursday, December 5
6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (13-9-4) won for the seventh time in their last eight road games, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-3, Tuesday at United Center. The Stars won despite being outshot 50-18 and blowing a 3-0 lead in the game. Kari Lehtonen stopped 47 shots and Antoine Roussel scored the game-winning goal, tallying on a penalty shot to snap a 3-3 tie early in the third period.

“We played defense the whole game, and didn’t have much energy,” said Roussel. “Our goaltender played unbelievable and kept us in the game. The boys played hard. They dominated us, but we’ll take the two points.”

The win extended the Stars’ overall points streak to four games (2-0-2).

The Stars had Wednesday off but Tyler Seguin, who has missed the last two games with concussion-like symptoms, skated in Toronto. He is questionable for Thursday.

F Ryan Garbutt, who left Tuesday’s game after getting hit with a puck, is questionable for Thursday as well.

Thursday’s game wraps up a two-game road trip for the Stars, who are 9-6-0 away from home this season.

Injuries: C Tyler Seguin (concussion-like symptoms) and F Ryan Garbutt (lower body) are questionable. D Stephane Robidas (leg) and D Aaron Rome (muscle injury) are out.

About the Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs (14-11-3) saw their winless streak hit five games (0-3-2) with a 4-2 loss to San Jose at Air Canada Centre Tuesday. Toronto fell behind 2-0 in the first period, rallied to tie in the second but Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle scored late in the second to give San Jose the lead for good.

“We try to accentuate the positive, but the big negative is we lost,” said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle. “We have to continue to push our players and support our players in what they are doing well, and continue to try to improve on the things we are doing poorly. Did we give ourselves a chance tonight? We gave ourselves a chance for about half of the game.”

Forwards Tyler Bozak (upper body) and Colton Orr (elbow) were dinged up in Tuesday’s game and are questionable for Thursday.

Right wing Phil Kessel left Wednesday’s practice with what Carlyle said was a “tweak” and added that Kessel wasn’t “feeling well in one area of his body.” Kessel’s status is unclear.

The Maple Leafs placed forward Jerred Smithson on waivers Wednesday.

Injuries: D Cody Franson (lower body) is expected to play. RW Phil Kessel (undisclosed), C Tyler Bozak (upper body) and RW Colton Orr (elbow) are questionable. C Dave Bolland (ankle) and RW Joffrey Lupul (groin) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Maple Leafs this season.

*The Stars and Maple Leafs did not play last season.

*The two teams last met Nov. 25, 2011 in Dallas. Toronto won 4-3 in a shootout.

*The Stars are 89-86-29 all-time against Toronto.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 8-3-2 over their last 13 games.

*Since starting the season 10-4-0, the Maple Leafs are 4-7-3 over their last 14 games.

*The Maple Leafs have allowed 22 goals (4.4 per game) during their five-game winless streak.

*The Maple Leafs have scored two goals or fewer in six of their last seven games.

*The Stars have scored two goals or fewer in five of their last seven games.

*The Stars are 5-3-0 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*The Maple Leafs are 6-5-1 against the Western Conference, and are one of just four teams in the East whose points percentage vs. the West is above .500.

*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in scoring with 25 points (7 goals, 18 assists).

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals with 12.

*Phil Kessel leads the Maple Leafs in goals (15) and points (25).

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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