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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

Other Stories

  • NFL: Chicago at Detroit

    Thursday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas

    Thursday at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Friday at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Baltimore at New Orleans

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Duke vs. Furman

    Wednesday at 5:00 pm on 620am

  • CBB: NC State vs. Richmond

    Wednesday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Florida

    Wednesday at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

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Local
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
12:00pm Today
UWGB
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAC
 
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MEM 107
LAC 91
Final
BOS 88
POR 94
Final
OKC 86
GSW 91
Final
LAL 94
DEN 101
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
ORL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHO
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
CHI
 
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
Final
FSU 69
UMASS 75
Final
SHSU 53
WOFF 64
Final
UNCG 67
YOUNG 76
Final
CMICH 75
ARKPB 43
 
Final
ILLCH 60
SILL 67
Final
MORE 46
AMER 51
Final
CORN 59
DREX 61
Final
CCST 60
COOK 65
Final
ARKLR 94
CSNO 88
Final
LEH 44
CLMB 54
 
Final
USB 89
MERMAR 54
 
Final
NMU 51
TEXAM 64
Final
STLU 56
TAMCC 62
 
Final
FAIR 80
SD 72
Final
EMICH 79
LONG 48
Final
ND 74
PROV 75
Final
RAD 88
CATAWBA 52
 
Final
DEN 80
COPST 54
 
Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
Final
HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
Final
MON 75
TOWS 79
Final
HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
EILL 49
Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
Final
RUTG 76
Terriers 73
 
Final
SAMF 64
UMKC 55
Final
NAVY 70
BING 68
Final
SHU 85
GWEBB 67
Final
UNT 58
IONA 78
Final
KENT 86
MNTST 28
Final
FORD 57
MLOWELL 64
 
Final
UCF 76
USCU 69
 
Final
SCAR 63
AKR 68
Final
WVU 78
UCONN 68
Final
CALST 70
DEL 52
 
Final
HOW 78
HOOD 51
 
Final
OSU 106
SHU 48
Final
VANDY 78
TENST 46
Final
NE 65
MAN 51
Final
COLST 75
MERC 62
Final
MISS 80
NARZ 74
Final
WASH 76
PAC 69
Final
LMU 82
SDCHR 60
 
Final
CHAR 58
MIAMI 77
Final
GAELS 72
UCI 69
Final
ILLST 64
ODU 45
Final
UCLA 77
LBSU 63
Final
SEAT 62
MONT 66
 
12:00pm Today
UWGB
ECU
 
1:30pm Today
WEBER
NEV
 
2:30pm Today
FRES
EVAN
 
2:30pm Today
KYST
PURD
 
4:00pm Today
LSU
CLEM
 
4:00pm Today
ALCOR
DILL
 
4:30pm Today
CHIST
UGST
 
4:30pm Today
DET
MDES
 
5:00pm Tonight
ARZ
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5:30pm Tonight
INDST
PEAY
 
6:00pm Tonight
FLGC
MAR
 
6:00pm Tonight
LALAF
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ODU
GWEBB
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
ARST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
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JMU
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WINT
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BST
GRAM
 
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MAST
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MSU
SCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
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TENT
SELA
 
7:00pm Tonight
VCU
VILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
WCU
 
7:30pm Tonight
IND
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8:00pm Tonight
ILL
BRO
 
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MEM
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BAY
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A
 
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9:00pm Tonight
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NMST
STET
 
9:30pm Tonight
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9:30pm Tonight
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CHADRON
 
9:30pm Tonight
NCOL
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9:30pm Tonight
OREG
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10:00pm Tonight
SDU
WMICH
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SIUE
 
11:00pm Tonight
AUB
TULSA
 
11:30pm Tonight
SDST
BYU
 
Final
WIN 2
STL 4
Final
NYR 5
MON 0
Final
ANA 2
ARI 1
Final
VAN 4
CHI 1
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
OTT
 
Final
HOU 13
CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
Final
NEP 34
DET 9
Final
MIN 21
GBP 24
Final
IND 23
JAC 3
Final
CHI 21
TAM 13
Final
PHI 43
TEN 24
Final
SEA 19
ARI 3
Final
SDC 27
STL 24
Final
DEN 39
MIA 36
Final
SFX 17
WAS 13
Final
NYG 28
DAL 31
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NYJ
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
BAL