Preview: Stars (13-9-4) vs Leafs (14-11-3)
Date: Thursday, December 5th 2013
Dallas Stars vs Toronto Maple Leafs Preview
This is the first of two meetings this season between the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs are 2-0-1 in the past three games against the Stars. But lately they have been the same old Maple Laffs team of the old.
Injuries have snake bitten both teams and the status of each teams leading scorers are questionable. Toronto forward Phil Kessel left practice Wednesday with an undisclosed ailment and coach Randy Carlyle said afterward that he was not sure if his top wing would play Thursday. The Stars’ Tyler Seguin missed the past two games with concussion-like symptoms following a hit against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Friday, but coach Lindy Ruff said the forward was possible for the game.
On the losing end of things the Leafs are 0-2-2 in their last four and they will need to try and turn things around with two key players possibly out of the lineup tonight.
In addition to the questionable status of Kessel with what Carlyle called a “tweak in part of his body,” center Tyler Bozak (MRI on upper-body injury suffered Tuesday) and right wing Colton Orr (elbow) missed practice Wednesday. And while Joffrey Lupul participated in a portion of the full practice, the forward left the ice and did not return to deal with a continuing groin injury.
But there might be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as defenseman Cody Franson (lower body) and forward Nazem Kadri (personal) skated Wednesday and both are hopeful to return to the lineup Thursday. In spite of the mounting injuries, Toronto placed Jerred Smithson on waivers Wednesday. The forward registered zero points and one shot on goal in 13 games played this season.
Dallas on the otherhand, everything is clicking for them. The Stars have won seven of their past eight toad games, including a 3-2 victory in Chicago Tuesday night. But with defensemen Stephane Robidas (broken leg) and Aaron Rome (lower body) on injured reserve and forward Ryan Garbutt (left game Tuesday after blocking shot) questionable for Thursday, the Stars will have a lot to overcome against an equally banged-up Toronto team.
Dallas Stars – Kari Lehtonen (confirmed)
Toronto Maple Leafs – Jonathan Bernier (confirmed)
Goalie Kari Lehtonen is 1-0-2 with an average of 34 saves per game over his past three starts for Dallas.
Forward James van Riemsdyk has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) over the past four games for Toronto.
Robidas and Rome are on injured reserve for the Stars and there was no further update on Seguin or Garbutt as of Wednesday afternoon.
Forward Dave Bolland (knee) is out indefinitely for the Maple Leafs, while Lupul was on the ice ahead of the morning skate Thursday. Franson and Kadri are possible to play, while Kessel, Orr and Bozak are all questionable.
Dallas Stars vs Toronto Maple Leafs Prediction
Despite injuries to both teams it’s really hard not to back Dallas tonight. When the Leafs are banged up – like they are tonight – they look like your average beer league team.
Dallas played great on Tuesday in Chicago and Kari Lehtonen stole the show. I understand Lehtonen is very unpredictable and is 1-6-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average in eight starts versus the Maple Leafs, going 0-4-0 with a 3.55 GAA in Toronto.
But there’s no way I am backing this banged up Leafs team, not right now. Therefor I am keeping this a small play as there is better value elsewhere tonight
Dallas Stars +100 to win $100
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