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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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Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia «4Final | Box
NY Rangers2Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Detroit1Final | Box
Boston «4Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Tampa Bay2Final | Box
Montreal «3Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Montreal leads series, 3-0.
Los Angeles2Final | Box
San Jose «7Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. San Jose leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
Final
HOU 120
POR 122
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
Final
SJS 7
LOS 2
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR