Maple Leafs target rare win at Dallas
The Toronto Maple Leafs hope that their 1-2 punch of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul can lead them to their first victory at Dallas in over eight years as they battle the Stars tonight at American Airlines Center.
Kessel has been on a surge since the start of the season as he leads the NHL with 16 goals and 30 points, while Lupul has been the league's hottest skater in the month of November. Lupul has two goals and five assists over a four- game point streak and has logged an NHL-high 15 points so far this month.
Lupul was one of six different goal scorers in Tuesday's 7-1 rout of the Lightning, while Kessel had an assist. Tyler Bozak led the way with a pair of goals and a helper while Tim Connolly had a goal to give him a pair of tallies and six points over his last three games.
Jonas Gustavsson made 27 saves in the win. Toronto had lost four of five prior to the game with the lone win a 7-1 triumph over the Capitals last Saturday.
"The guys work hard out there every night and we were rewarded with that tonight," said Clarke MacArthur, who added a goal. "It's always nice to contribute in a game, especially a win."
Toronto, which plays the third of a four-game swing tonight, has been trying to keep its head above water as it battles injuries. The Maple Leafs lost Mike Komisarek, Matthew Lombardi and Mikhail Grabovski to injuries in November and Mike Brown joins the walking wounded as he is questionable for this game with an undisclosed injury.
Also, projected No. 1 goaltender James Reimer hasn't played since Oct. 22 due to a head/neck injury, but is close to returning. Gustavsson will get the call tonight against a Stars club that is looking to post a third straight win following a five-game slide.
Dallas snapped its skid with a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Monday and then logged a 3-2 overtime victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday in the third contest of a four-game homestand.
Loui Eriksson scored the game-tying goal with 20.3 seconds left in regulation and Steve Ott netted the winner at 2:56 of overtime.
"We stuck with it," said Ott. "The game plan coming in was well taken care of for the whole 60 minutes. The unfortunate thing is we were down 2-0, but we stuck with it."
Jamie Benn scored and Kari Lehtonen ended with 22 saves in the victory, which came without forward Brenden Morrow due to an upper-body injury that has him day-to-day.
The Maple Leafs snapped a four-game slide versus the Stars with a 4-1 home win on Nov. 22 of last year, but have lost their last two trips to Dallas. Toronto hasn't won in Big D since Oct. 22, 2003.