Preview: Leafs Looking to the Stars for a Win

For the second time this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs will face off against the Dallas Stars – this time in Toronto. The Leafs are coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of the New York Islanders in which the team held a 4-2 lead at one point.

Toronto Maple Leafs, Frederik Andersen
Frederik Andersen has already played 43 of the Leafs’ 51 games this season. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Stars are also coming off a loss on Saturday to the Chicago Blackhawks having given up five goals to the high-powered Hawks offence. However, the Stars do have one thing in their favour heading into the matchup with the Leafs. In their last meeting, they handed the Leafs a 6-3 loss in which Frederik Andersen was pulled from the game following Dallas’ first three goals.

That being said, it looks as though the Leafs will hand the crease to Curtis McElhinney in their rematch with the Stars on Tuesday. Since coming to the Leafs in January McElhinney has a 1-2-0 record – carrying the loss for the team the last time they met up with the Stars. However, his career numbers against the Stars include a 3-2-0 with a 2.72 goals against average and .914 save percentage.

While it’s not the ideal matchup for the Leafs, they’ve been over playing Andersen so far this season. The Stars will rely on their veteran players to continue their torrid pace of late, while the Leafs will be looking to their young lineup to carry them to a win. Two points will go a long with for the Leafs as they continue to hold games in hand on most of the Eastern Conference.

Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs

Air Canada Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – TSN4 and FS-SW+

2016-17 Season Series:
January 31 – Stars 6 – Maple Leafs 3

Dallas Stars – 21-22-10 – 52 Points

Road Record: 7-13-4

Hot Players: Jamie Benn, John Klingberg and Tyler Seguin

Key Injuries: Ales Hemsky, Mattias Janmark, Johnny Oduya, Jamie Oleksiak and Jason Spezza

Projected Lines:


Jamie Benn-Cody Eakin-Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel-Tyler Seguin-Brett Ritchie

Devin Shore-Radek Faksa-Patrick Sharp

Curtis McKenzie-Adam Cracknell-Lauri Korpikoski


Esa Lindell-John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis-Patrik Nemeth

Jordie Benn-Stephen Johns


Kari Lehtonen

Toronto Maple Leafs – 24-17-10 – 58 Points

Home Record: 12-8-3

Hot Players: Mitch Marner, Nazem Kadri and William Nylander

Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul

Projected Lines:


Leo Komarov-Nazem Kadri-William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Mitch Marner

Zach Hyman-Auston Matthews-Connor Brown

Matt Martin-Ben Smith-Nikita Soshnikov


Morgan Rielly-Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner-Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick-Roman Polak


Curtis McElhinney

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Stars have had a disappointing season thus far. On the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, the Stars are 3-5-2 over their last 10 games with one of their wins coming a week ago against the Maple Leafs. Since then, however, they’ve lost two straight and enter Tuesday’s game having given up nine goals over the past two contests.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]With one point on Tuesday, John Klingberg will pass Pierre Turgeon (129) for 30th on the Stars’ all-time points list. He currently sits ninth on the team’s all-time defensive points list and three goals away from passing Alex Goligoski (32) for eighth on the team’s all-time defensive list.

Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL
Marner leads the NHL in rookie scoring and has been the hottest Leaf as of late. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Against the Islanders on Monday, the Leafs had five rookies score goals for the first time in franchise history (Matthews, Marner, Soshnikov, Hyman and Nylander). They currently hold three of the top four rookie scoring spots with Patrik Laine being the fourth player on that list. Currently, Marner leads the way with 45 points (14g-31a) in 51 games for the Leafs.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]In their last meeting, the Stars got off to a hot start with five goals in the first period. Andersen was pulled following the first three in the first 11 minutes of the period. The Leafs were able to make it close adding two in the second, but Stars took home the two points with a 6-3 victory.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]With just one assist, Tyler Bozak will pass Wendel Clark (181) for 31st on the Leafs all-time list and tie Ron Stewart (182) for 30th. He currently sits 34th on the team’s all-time points list with 301 – 17 behind Paul Henderson for 33rd in Leafs history.

The Leafs control their destiny down the stretch. They will need to pick up some big points against the teams that are currently outside the playoff picture – like the Stars – if they’re hoping to play postseason hockey this season.