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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 23rd (All times Eastern)

Toronto Maple Leafs (27-20-5) at Dallas Stars (22-20-8), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - It didn't look that way at the start, but January has been a pretty good month for the surging Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs look to stay hot on Thursday night by posting their longest winning streak in over 10 years as they continue their road trip versus the Dallas Stars.

Toronto kicked off the new year with a shootout win over Detroit in the Winter Classic, but then went on to lose four straight. That skid has become a memory as the Maple Leafs have rebounded with six consecutive wins and are now tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points, matching the rival Montreal Canadiens.

The line of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak has been at the center of the surge, combining for 14 goals and 30 points over the last seven games.

Kessel has a goal in four straight while also posting six goals and eight assists over a seven-game point streak. He scored twice in Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, giving him 26 tallies and 52 points on the season.

"We're winning right, so that is the most important thing. Whatever I can do to help the team win and just keep going," said Kessel. "I could have had a bunch tonight. I missed some good chances, but like I said we got the win and it's a big win for us."

Toronto also got a goal and an assist from van Riemsdyk, while Jay McClement and Jake Gardiner added scores and James Reimer made 35 saves.

The Leafs have won six straight for the first time since Dec. 23-Jan. 2 during the 2005-06 campaign. They haven't won seven in a row since an eight-game run from Nov. 22-Dec. 6, 2003.

"It was a team effort tonight," said van Riemsdyk. "This could have been an excuse game with the altitude and back-to-back games. We didn't let that happen."

Toronto had opened a four-game swing with a victory in Phoenix the previous night and will wrap the trek on Saturday in Winnipeg. The Leafs are now 10-10-4 on the road.

While the Maple Leafs are on an impressive winning streak, the Stars will settle for winning back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 23-27. They are just 2-8-1 in January but are coming off a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Kari Lehtonen made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season and 24th of his career, while Ray Whitney, Jordie Benn, Vernon Fiddler and Erik Cole all scored.

The Stars outshot the Wild 12-3 in the first period and led 2-0 to eventually capture the opener of a five-game homestand.

"It's been frustrating because we've had a lot of good opportunities inside a game that haven't gone for us," said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff. "We've started some games really well and all of a sudden a goal can go in and it's a little bit of a letdown. But you know we really gave a key effort and got the saves when we needed them, and the power play was good and the killing was good."

Dallas scored twice on the power play and has lit the lamp on the man advantage in five straight games. That is the longest such streak for the club since doing so in seven straight from Dec. 11-23, 2010.

Benn, meanwhile, picked up his second goal of the season on a third-period penalty shot. It was Dallas' seventh penalty shot of the season, a new club record that also ties an NHL single-season mark, and Dallas has scored four times on the seven tries.

The Stars are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games at home versus the Maple Leafs, but have lost three straight in the series overall. That includes a 3-2 overtime setback in Toronto on Dec. 5 despite a season-high 50 shots.

Lehtonen made 21 saves on 24 shots, giving up the winner with 42 seconds left in overtime. He fell to 2-6-2 lifetime versus Toronto with a 2.95 goals against average.

Kessel had two assists and Jonathan Bernier, who is likely to start tonight, made 48 saves and moved to 3-2-1 lifetime versus the Stars with a 2.12 GAA.

01/23 10:54:10 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
1st
NCSU 13
BSU 9
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
CHA 12
GSW 20
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
1st
CHA 12
GSW 20
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
DAL
7:30pm Tonight
DET
MIL
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
NOP
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
LAC
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
NYK
8:00pm Tonight
IND
ORL
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
 
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
 
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
8:00pm Tonight
VT
UVA
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 56
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
 
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
 
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
 
2nd
FSU 36
CSOU 24
 
2nd
VALPO 51
DRAK 31
 
2nd
CIN 54
MTST 31
 
2nd
SDU 55
PRIN 44
 
Half
WASU 39
RICE 33
 
2nd
CSFU 36
USCU 33
 
Half
GT 30
RIDE 30
 
1st
TXPA 24
ALAST 32
 
1st
NCSU 13
BSU 9
 
1st
TCU 12
BRAD 9
 
1st
WAKE 22
DELST 23
 
1st
HART 18
EMERSON 9
 
1st
STJ 12
GONZ 14
 
1st
CLEM 11
HIGH 5
 
1st
SYR 10
HC 9
 
1st
MD 21
MON 12
 
1st
JVST 18
SAV 15
 
1st
MIAMI 30
SALA 8
 
1st
RUTG 20
VANDY 15
 
7:30pm Tonight
PETE
TENST
8:00pm Tonight
MARS
CLST
8:00pm Tonight
JST
HOF
 
8:00pm Tonight
INDST
MEM
8:00pm Tonight
UF
UNC
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SAMF
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
TENNM
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
3rd
WAS 4
NYI 2
 
1st
PIT 0
CAR 0
 
1st
NJD 1
DET 1
 
1st
BUF 1
MON 0
 
1st
CLB 0
VAN 0
 
1st
BOS 0
WIN 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
OTT
8:00pm Tonight
STL
EDM
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN