The Dallas Stars (32-19-5) will be taking a long trip north to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs (30-19-8). Their Thursday night matchup has puck drop slated for 7:00 pm. These two teams reside in different conferences and divisions, though they’re neighbors in the overall league standings at the 9th and 11th slots. Individually, Dallas is third in the Central Division and the Western Conference with 69 points, while Toronto is third in the Atlantic and 8th in the Eastern Conference with 68 points. This will be the second of two regular-season meetings between these teams, with their last match being on January 29th. In that game, the Stars would take the lead going into the third period, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Leafs would score two more to win the game 5-3.
Stars Look To Close GapWhat stands between the Dallas Stars and the second slot in the Central Division is three points and the Colorado Avalanche. After that it would be a theoretically easy one-point jump to tie for first, two points to hold the position on their own. Of course, that’s only if the two teams in front of them decide to stop winning, which isn’t something that they’ve made a habit of this season. Dallas hasn’t either. The Stars go into their match against the Leafs on a two-game win streak, one that they’re hoping to stretch out to three. Their most recent game was on their home ice against the Carolina Hurricanes. In that game, the Stars put 36 shots on net and came away with a 4-1 victory over the Canes. Three-fourths of the Stars’ goals were scored by just one man. Captain Jamie Benn scored his sixth career hat trick that night. Benn scored one goal in all three periods and completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal. The Stars’ other goal scorer was Denis Gurianov, who scored on the powerplay in the second period. In net for the Stars was Anton Khudobin, who stopped 24 of 25 shots for a .960 save percentage.
The Captain scored a hat trick on @Citycu hat night...— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 13, 2020
Which means the @DS_Foundation has some awesome new hats they’ll be donating to the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base! @NASFortWorthJRB| #GoStars pic.twitter.com/g143zv75YZ
Leafs Fight To Stay AheadThe Leafs, much like the Stars, are in the third slot of their division. However, they have a much longer trip to reach the next place in the standings, and much less leeway if they slip. The number 4 team in the Atlantic Division is just two points behind them, while the number two team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, is over ten points ahead of them. While not impossible, it would certainly be difficult to cover that much ground this late in the season, unless the Lightning suddenly decides to stop playing hockey this season. What the Leafs need to focus on is securing their position in the division. And the best way to do that is to extend their last victory into a streak over the Stars. Their most recent outing was against the Arizona Coyotes. It was a low scoring game, with a final tally of 3-2. In the game, the Coyotes struck early, scoring the first goal just 1:04 into the beginning period. The Leafs responded, and the teams would trade goals until sixty minutes had been played. Both of the Leafs’ regulation goals were scored by Zach Hyman and both were assisted by Alexander Kerfoot. It was 3:43 into overtime when Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen found the back of the net to secure two points for the team. In goal for the Leafs was one of their newest acquisitions- Jack Campbell. Campbell stopped 35 of the 37 shots directed at him for a .946 save percentage on the night.
- The Leafs are 8-0-1 when scoring first at home.
- The Leafs are 15-7-3 overall when outshooting their opponent.
- The Stars are 2-4 on the road in one-goal games.
- The Stars are 3-4-2 when tied after the first period on the road.