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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 5th (All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (13-9-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs (14-11-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs may have to try and halt their longest losing streak of the season without their leading scorer on Thursday night when they take on the visiting Dallas Stars.
The Maple Leafs are 0-3-2 over their last five games, a skid that was extended on Tuesday with a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Mason Raymond and Phil Kessel scored power-play goals, while James Reimer yielded three goals on 40 shots.
Toronto has not won since Nov. 23 and has given up at least four goals in all but one game during its losing streak.
"We've got to find ways to keep the other team off the scoreboard a little better," said Reimer. "We battled back and tied it, but then they got the lead right back. It was a good game, but we're disappointed that we lost."
Kessel's goal was his team-leading 15th of the season and 200th of his career. He is also tops on the club with 25 points, but was forced to leave practice early on Wednesday due to an undisclosed injury.
That leaves the forward's status for this game up in the air as Toronto tries to avoid losing six in a row for the first time since Feb. 18-29, 2012.
Forwards Colton Orr (bruised elbow) and Tyler Bozak (upper body) also are questionable for this game, though Cody Franson may return from a two-game absence caused by a lower-body ailment.
The Stars have a point in four straight, going 2-0-2 in that span. They followed up consecutive shootout losses with Tuesday's 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Dallas won despite blowing a 3-0 lead and getting outshot 50-18. Kari Lehtonen made 47 saves and Antoine Roussel scored the winner on a penalty shot at 3:01 of the third period.
"We got some lucky goals and some good bounces," said Roussel. "They played hard tonight, but we were able to get the two points."
Alex Chiasson, Valeri Nichushkin and Erik Cole all scored for the Stars, who registered a season low for shots in a game and a season high for shots allowed in a game.
Forward Ryan Garbutt sat out the third period with a lower-body injury and is questionable for tonight along with Tyler Seguin, who has missed the past two with concussion-like symptoms. Seguin leads Dallas with 12 goals on the season.
The Stars had won four straight over the Maple Leafs before losing the past two meetings. That includes a 4-1 setback in Toronto on Nov. 22, 2010 and a 4-3 shootout defeat in Dallas in the most recent matchup on Nov. 25, 2011.
Lehtonen is 2-6-1 with a 2.97 goals against average in his career versus Toronto, spanning nine games and eight starts.
Reimer has never faced the Stars, while Jonathan Bernier is 2-2-1 against them in five games with a 2.18 GAA.
12/05 10:30:23 ET
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