(SportsNetwork.com) – The suddenly-sliding Toronto Maple Leafs will try to
enter the Christmas break on a positive note when they visit the Dallas Stars
for Tuesday’s encounter at American Airlines Center.
The Maple Leafs are in the midst of a three-game skid that comes directly on
the heels of a six-game winning streak. Toronto also boasted a 10-1-1 record
in the 12 games prior to its current 0-3 stretch.
Toronto has been outscored by a combined 15-5 margin during the losing streak,
and the Leafs have surrendered 11 goals over the last two outings.
After getting slammed 7-4 by visiting Philadelphia on Saturday, the Maple
Leafs began a seven-game road trip the following night in Chicago and were
handed a 4-0 loss. Antti Raanta stopped 31 shots to pick up the shutout for
James Reimer allowed all four goals on 34 shots for the Maple Leafs, who have
matched their longest skid of the season, tying an 0-3 stretch from Nov.
14-18. Toronto hasn’t dropped four straight since losing the last four games
of the 2013-14 season in regulation.
“The record we have in the last three games we have to figure out a way to
turn it around,” Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said.
Toronto is just 5-4-3 as the guest this season. The Leafs will try to pick up
their first win of the current swing tonight before the road trip resumes
Sunday at Florida.
The Leafs recorded a 5-3 home win over Dallas on Dec. 2 and are hoping to
sweep the season series tonight. However, the Stars are 3-0-1 in their last
four home meetings against Toronto and they posted a 7-1 rout of the Leafs
when they last visited Big D on Jan. 23 of last season.
While Toronto aims for a return to the win column on Tuesday, the Stars will
try to enter the Christmas hiatus with a fifth consecutive victory.
Dallas stretched its winning streak to a season-high four games thanks to
Sunday’s remarkable comeback victory in Edmonton. The Stars trailed the Oilers
5-2 in the second period before rallying for a 6-5 shootout win.
Taylor Hall’s goal with 6:43 left put the Oilers ahead by a 5-2 score, but
Jamie Benn began the comeback for the Stars with a power-play tally in the
final minute of the second period.
Tyler Seguin would even the score for Dallas in the third. The NHL’s leading
goal-scorer tallied 52 seconds into the third to cut the deficit to 5-4, then
tied it up with his 25th goal of the season at the 9:13 mark.
Shawn Horcoff then scored in the eighth round of the shootout to give the
Stars the win.
Seguin, who is two points behind Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek for the scoring
lead, also posted an assist. Benn also added an assist, while Horcoff and Erik
Cole notched the other regulation goals.
“I thought the leaders of the team took the bulls by the horns,” Stars coach
Lindy Ruff said.
Anders Lindback stopped 9-of-10 shots to get the win in relief of Kari
Lehtonen, who allowed four goals on 19 shots before getting pulled halfway
through the second period.
The Stars are 6-6-5 as the home team this season. Dallas will emerge from the
NHL’s Christmas break on Saturday, when it visits the St. Louis Blues.