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Maple Leafs-Stars Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:49 AM

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

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Maple Leafs-Stars Preview
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Dallas Stars

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars have slowed since getting off to hot starts, though each are coming off victories which they hope will get them back on track.

The Stars seek their fifth win in six meetings with the Maple Leafs as the teams meet Friday night in Dallas.

With the help of the league's leading scorer, Phil Kessel, Toronto (12-8-2) got off to a surprising 9-3-1 start. While Kessel has stayed hot, the Leafs have since gone 3-5-1 and been inconsistent offensively.

Between a pair of 7-1 victories - Saturday over Washington and Tuesday over Tampa Bay - Toronto fell 3-2 at Carolina. The Leafs hope the outburst against the Lightning can keep them going strong.

Tyler Bozak scored twice and added an assist, while Tim Connolly had a goal and two assists.

Four others tallied goals, including Joffrey Lupul, whose 26 points rank third in the league behind Kessel's 30 and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux (27).

Kessel had an assist, and he's scored at least one point in 18 of Toronto's 22 games.

"It's nice to have a bunch of guys contributing," Bozak said. "We had every line going, and that's how we want to play."

Jonas Gustavsson made 27 saves and has stopped 67 of 69 shots in winning his last two starts.

"The guys are playing great, scoring a lot of goals, and they work hard in both ends," Gustavsson said. "So that's good for the team and it feels good to play when you see them score goals."

Gustavsson made 21 saves in Toronto's 4-1 win over Dallas in the most recent meeting Nov. 22, 2010 - the Leafs' only victory in the last five meetings with the Stars.

Dallas (13-8-0), meanwhile, is looking for its third straight win following a five-game skid.

The Stars, the only NHL team in either first or second place in any division being outscored for the season, are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Loui Eriksson tied the game with 20.3 seconds remaining in regulation and Steve Ott scored the winner 2:56 into overtime as Dallas completed a comeback from a 2-0, first-period deficit.

"It's sticking with the structure, just continue to stick with the program that we have," Ott said. "When we keep that structure, we're a hard-working team that, nine times out of 10, it pays off for us, so if we continue to stick to that plan, we're going to be in games. We might not win every game, but we'll be in every game and have a chance to win every game."

Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist to break a four-game pointless streak, and Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves to improve to 13-4-0 with a 2.32 goals-against average.

Lehtonen, though, is only 2-6-0 with a 3.00 GAA in eight appearances - seven starts - versus Toronto.

Lupul has four goals and two assists in his last six games against the Stars, scoring a goal in each of his last two.

Dallas will be without captain Brenden Morrow the next three games because of an upper-body injury. Morrow, who was injured in the first period Monday against Edmonton, is seventh on the team with nine points in 20 games.

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Nov 25 '11 TOR 4 at DAL 3 - SO J. Lupul
P. Kessel23161430+4843
J. Lupul23111627+62831
D. Phaneuf2331518+21820
T. Bozak2141014+21220
J. Liles2331114+0420
T. Connolly113811+1821
C. MacArthur178210-2412
M. Grabovski185510+0821
N. Kulemin232810-1200
J. Gardiner21077-11200
M. Lombardi19246-7201
C. Gunnarsson23066-11000
J. Crabb12415-2600
D. Steckel23404-3410
M. Frattin20134-31201
M. Komisarek18134+32600
C. Franson9134-5410
L. Schenn22044+02400
M. Brown18123+03100
J. Colborne4123+2200
C. Orr4101+1500
N. Kadri3011+0200
P. Dupuis21000-21400
J. Rosehill10000-2900
C. Armstrong5000-3200
J. Gustavsson127-4-0343353.16.899
J. Reimer64-0-1141592.58.912
B. Scrivens82-4-1212192.96.904
J. Benn2261723+103312
L. Eriksson22101020+12221
M. Ribeiro2221315+21201
M. Ryder227714+91211
S. Souray224913+113521
S. Ott164610+44112
R. Dvorak222810-3200
E. Nystrom17729+1700
B. Morrow20369+13911
V. Fiddler22358-21401
A. Burish16358-33201
S. Robidas22246+41410
A. Goligoski15246-2210
T. Daley22145+51010
T. Petersen16101-4400
N. Grossmann19011+32200
T. Wandell17011-5200
P. Larsen6011+2000
M. Fistric16000-41000
J. Dowell16000-61700
A. Pardy10000-7600
K. Barch8000-21800
T. Vincour6000-3000
K. Lehtonen1813-4-1435782.35.926
A. Raycroft40-4-0141323.54.894 is the official Web site of Dallas Stars, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Dallas Stars, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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