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Stars-Maple Leafs Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Toronto Maple Leafs at Dallas Stars

Thursday, January 23
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (22-20-8) are coming off a 4-0 win over Minnesota at American Airlines Center on Tuesday. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Stars dominated play. They had a 28-9 shots advantage through two periods and a 36-18 advantage at the end of the game.

“We wanted to come out with a lot of energy and leave it on the ice,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “We really had nothing to lose. I thought we played a great team game tonight.”

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen recorded his second shutout of the season and 24th of his career. The Stars scored twice on the power play and on a penalty shot in the game.

Thursday’s game is the second of a five-game homestand for the Stars, who have won just twice in their last 11 games (2-8-1).

"As much as we've been losing, we have to come with an excited attitude,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “I think that's the only thing that really gets you out of these skids is taking positive out of games, and I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight. We came out and had a good start and we just kept going after that."

The Stars placed forward Dustin Jeffrey on waivers Wednesday.

Injuries: D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.

About the Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs (27-20-5) won their sixth straight game, defeating Colorado, 5-2, in Denver Tuesday night. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Toronto scored 3:56 into the game and never looked back, building a 4-0 lead by 5:17 into the second period.

“When you score the first goal on the road it gives you a little bit of a lift,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “We played a decent enough of a hockey game to give ourselves a chance. The home team’s going to come with a push, and we withstood that.”

The six-game winning streak is the longest in eight years for the Maple Leafs, who have climbed from tenth in the Eastern Conference into a playoff spot thanks to the run.

“There's a lot more life in the room,” Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. “We've got a confidence in our dressing room that we feel good about ourselves.”

Thursday’s game is the third of a four-game road trip for Toronto.

Injuries: C Dave Bolland (ankle), RW David Clarkson (elbow), LW Frazer McLaren (shoulder) and C Trevor Smith (hand) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second and final meeting between the Stars and Maple Leafs.

*The Stars are 0-0-1 in the season series.

*The Maple Leafs are 1-0-0 in the season series.

*December 5, Dallas at Toronto: Maple Leafs 3, Stars 2 (OT)

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have scored on the power play in five straight games and are 6-19 (31.6 percent) on the PP during that stretch.

*The Maple Leafs are 8-26 (30.8 percent) on the power play over the last seven games.

*The Stars are 8-8 on the penalty kill over the last three games.

*Toronto has allowed a power play goal in nine of its last 13 games and is 31-41 (75.6 percent) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Toronto allows a league-high 36.4 shots per game.

*The Stars have lost seven straight games against the Eastern Conference and are 6-10-1 vs. the East this season.

*The Maple Leafs have won three straight vs. the Western Conference and are 11-7-1 vs. the West.

*Stars forward Erik Cole has nine goals in the last 17 games.

*Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has goals in four straight games (five goals) and points in seven straight games (six goals, 8 assists).

*Kessel leads the Maple Leafs in goals (26) and points (52).

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (21) and points (45).

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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