The Dallas Stars will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 PM on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center - a rare visit from the original six team from Ontario. The last visit by the Leafs was two years ago in November.
The Stars are 18-15-4 against Toronto since moving to Dallas, including a 10-6-1 record at home. Dallas’ last loss to the Maple Leafs came on Oct. 22, 2003 at American Airlines Center (3-1). The Stars are 16-6-2 in their last 24 games against the Leafs and 7-3-0 in their last 10 meetings at home.
"It's always special to play the Toronto Maple Leafs," said Stars head coach Marc Crawford. "I grew up in Ontario and I was a huge Leafs fan. It is neat to play against Toronto. I think it’s really special to get to play against any of the original six teams.
"I’ve watched Toronto the last couple of games. I thought they played great in Vancouver, and (Monday) night they finally got their payoff in Anaheim. Obviously they play the game with lots of speed; they play the game with a real good offensive attack; their power play was terrific (Monday) night scoring five goals."
James Neal, a Toronto native, recorded his first career hat-trick last season against Toronto (3-0-3). Dallas enjoyed an 8-2 win in their last meeting, Dec. 23, 2008. The Stars went two-for-three on the power play, one-for-one on the penalty-kill and outshot the Maple Leafs 37-22. Eight players recorded multi-point games for the Stars.
Stats and Stuff
Mike Modano leads the Stars in goals (30), assists (35) and points (65) in 62 career games against Toronto.
Brad Richards has 13 goals and 14 assists in 28 meetings with the Maple Leafs.
Marty Turco has a 4-1-0 record against Toronto in six appearances. His 1.84 GAA rank fifth lowest personally against any one NHL opponent.
Fabian Brunnstrom also recorded a goal and an assist in his first career game against Toronto.
Turco vs. Canada
Goaltender Marty Turco has excelled against the league’s six Canadian teams (Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver). Since the beginning of the 2002-03 season, he has earned a 52-19-6 record and a 2.03 GAA (160 GA / 4,725 min). He adds six career shutouts and .916 save percentage (1,739-of-1,899) against teams from north of the border. Turco currently has a career GAA below 2.00 against four of the six Canadian teams.
The Stars will be without the services of Steve Ott for the next two games. The Stars forward has been suspended by the league for two games, without pay, as the result of a low-hit on St. Louis Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on Saturday at St. Louis.
Per the league press release announcing the incident, “Ott, who was suspended for one game February 28, 2009, now is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Ott will miss Wednesday’s game against Toronto and Oct. 30 against Florida. He will be eligible to return Oct. 31 at Nashville.”
"I think that it’s unfortunate, but in terms of the team, a team has to deal with adversity every now and then; this is a different kind, coming in the form of a suspension," said Crawford. "For Steve, it is too bad, but we just have to deal with it and move forward from it. And that’s what we’ll do. On the one hand, it will give Steve a chance, he has not been playing at 100 percent. On the bright side of it, it will give him a couple of days to hopefully get closer to 100 percent. On the other side, we just have to find a way to gut it out and play well. It’s going to give opportunity to people like Sutherby, Barch and Petersen to play a little bit more. Brunnstrom will get to play a little bit more. Hopefully with that depth, we’ll be able to get through these next couple of games – that’s where depth really pays some dividend. It is a decent opportunity for those guys, and we’re going to need them to play very well."
Mike Modano practiced with the team on Tuesday and is getting closer. "He looked pretty good out there," said Crawford. "We did a little bit of work on our power play, and he’s such a good power play guy. He looked real good on the power play. We'll see how he reacts tomorrow but he still might need some more time."
Jere Lehtinen skated on his own on Tuesday and plans to skate again on Wednesday morning. Crawford said he was not yet ready to be back in the lineup, but he is improving.
Crawford said Matt Niskanen looked like he’s ready to get back in the lineup. "Niskanen is probable," he said.