Dallas Stars: Toronto Maple Leafs

Jamie Benn the NHL's first star of the week

January, 9, 2012
FRISCO -- Stars forward Jamie Benn was named the NHL's first star of the week after putting up 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in three games.

"It's a nice honor," Benn said after Monday's practice. "I had a good week and the biggest part is we got three out four wins."

Here's the press release from the NHL:

Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn, Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Joffrey Lupul and Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson have been named the NHL's 'Three Stars' for the week ending Jan. 8.


Benn sparked the Dallas offense with seven points (four goals, three assists), tallying multiple points in each of his appearances, as the Stars (23-16-1) won two of three starts. He notched a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 3, tallied one goal and one assist in a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Jan. 5 and scored two goals, including his fourth game-winner of the season, in a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 7. Playing in his third NHL season, Benn has recorded points in 10 of his past 11 games and leads the Stars in scoring with 13-28--41 in 40 contests. The 22-year old Victoria, B.C. native has matched the output of his rookie season two years ago and his 82-point pace would shatter his career high of 56, set last season.


Lupul notched seven points last week (two goals, five assists), helping the Maple Leafs (21-15-5) post three consecutive victories. Lupul began the week with one goal and three assists, including the 300th point of his NHL career, in a 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 3. He became the fifth player from the 2002 NHL Draft class to reach the 300-point milestone, joining Rick Nash, Alex Semin, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Jarret Stoll. Lupul went on to record one assist in a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Jan. 5 and tally the game-winning goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings Jan. 7. Lupul increased his season points total to 47 (19 goals, 28 assists), ranking second on the Maple Leafs behind Phil Kessel and fourth in the NHL overall.


Anderson posted a 3-0-1 record, 2.41 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in four appearances last week as the Senators (22-15-6) climbed to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Anderson started the week by making 27 saves and tallying his fourth assist of the season -- tops among NHL goaltenders -- in a 3-2 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils Jan. 2. He turned aside 35 of 36 shots in a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 5, stopped 36 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Jan. 7 and blocked 33 more in a 6-4 win over Philadelphia Jan. 8. Anderson improved his season record to 20-12-4 with a 3.13 goals-against average and .902 save percentage. He leads all NHL goaltenders in games (38), shots faced (1,120) and saves (1,010).

Stars-Maple Leafs photos

November, 26, 2011
Here are some photos from last night's Stars-Maple Leafs game at American Airlines Center. You can see all the photos by Shannon Byrne here or by clicking below on the photo of Eric Nystrom.

#24 Eric Nystrom battles with #2 Luke SchennDallas Stars vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, November 25, 2011

Stars rally for point, but fall in shootout

November, 26, 2011

DALLAS - The Dallas Stars played their third straight solid game, but this time they could only get one point out of it, not two. The Stars overcame 2-1 and 3-2 deficits and got the game to overtime, but fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs before a sellout crowd of 18,532 at American Airlines Center Friday night.

"It was a great atmosphere. Those Leafs fans brought energy in the building, battling against our fans. It was a lot of fun,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom, who scored two goals. “But when it comes down to a shootout, it comes down to chance. It’s not about the team, it’s about individuals. You take those with a grain of salt, but we played really hard tonight and did a lot of good things. We’ve got to continue to do that.”

Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul scored the only goal of the shootout, beating Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a wrist shot. Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro could not crack Toronto goalie Jonas Gustavsson in the skills competition.

“I thought that we played very well, but I felt I didn’t have a really good night. I let in too many goals with only about 20 shots,” said Lehtonen, who stopped 20 of 23 shots in the game. “We had the better chances, but their goalie played very well. When you go to the shootout you never know what’s going to happen - they have good shooters, we have good shooters. It’s good that we got one point, but I wasn’t happy with the way I played.”

It was the first time the Stars, who have points in three straight games (2-0-1) have lost in a game that has gone beyond regulation this season. They are now 4-1 in those games with a 2-1 record in the shootout and a 2-0 mark in overtime.

“We worked hard,” said Stars forward Radek Dvorak, who scored the game-tying goal for the Stars. “It’s too bad we came up with just one point, but it shows that we can play the whole 60 minutes. If you want to keep putting points on the board and if you want to play our game, you have to work hard and we did that.”

The Stars opened the scoring at the 4:03 mark of the game when Nystrom took a pass from Michael Ryder and beat Gustavsson with a shot from the slot.

Toronto bounced back with two goals to take a 2-1 lead. After a nice keep by Dion Phaneuf at the Dallas blue line, Joey Crabb deflected a Phaneuf shot past Lehtonen to tie the game at 10:55.

Just under four minutes later, Phaneuf gave Toronto the lead when he scored off a point shot with the Leafs on the power play.

The Stars tied the game on Nystrom’s second goal of the night early in the second period. Jamie Benn sent a pass to Radek Dvorak on the rush and Dvorak set up Nystrom, who slipped the puck past Gustavsson at the 4:38 mark of the second.

The Leafs took the lead 6:55 into the third period when Clarke MacArthur tipped home a Tim Connolly center pass.

The Stars drew even with 7:13 remaining when Mike Ribeiro set up Dvorak, who scored from the right circle.

“I was on a change and I saw Ribby behind the net and all five guys were focusing on him,” Dvorak said. “He’s a playmaker and you know he’ll always find you, so I just tried to get open for him and the puck ended up on my stick. I just tried shooting high and it went in.”

Both teams had late power play chances, couldn’t cash in. The Stars were 0-4 on the power play in the game and are now 0-15 on the PP over the last six games.

“That is probably the key, we needed a power play goal,” said Gulutzan. “We have had that game maybe in the third with the late power play.”

The Maple Leafs won for the third time in the last four games.

“It’s a big two points for our team coming in here,” said Phaneuf. “I thought they played really well. They’re a real hard-working team. They’re where they’re at in the standings in the West for a reason, so we knew it would be a big test for us. I thought we really stuck to it for the full 65 minutes and the shootout to pull out two really big points.”


*Friday night’s sellout was the first of the season for the Stars.

*Stars forward Tomas Vincour left the game briefly in the third period after being hit into the boards by Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn. Vincour returned and finished the game, and Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said Vincour was fine.

*Adam Pardy and Krys Barch were healthy scratches for Dallas. Brenden Morrow (upper body), Alex Goligoski (broken thumb) and Adam Burish (broken hand) remain out.

Postgame quotes

November, 25, 2011
Here are some quotes from the Dallas Stars after they fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs at American Airlines Center Friday night.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan

“I thought we played real hard. I don’t think we started as good as we have in the past. We put some shots on net, but they had a good transition game and few too many odd-man rushes. But as we settled in and got into our rhythm, I thought the second was a very good period for us and the back half of that third we were good too. We made a couple of errors in our system, in our structure and it cost us two goals. We’ve to got reinforce that, clean it up and hopefully it doesn’t happen for another ten games.”

Stars forward Eric Nystrom

“That was a lot of fun. It was a great atmosphere. Those Leafs fans brought energy in the building, battling against our fans. It was a lot of fun. But when it comes down to a shootout, it comes down to chance. It’s not about the team, it’s about individuals. You take those with a grain of salt, but we played really hard tonight and did a lot of good things. We’ve got to continue to do that.”

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen

“I thought that we played very well, but I felt I didn’t have a really good night. I let in too many goals with only about 20 shots. We had the better chances, but their goalie played very well. When you go to the shootout you never know what’s going to happen - they have good shooters, we have good shooters. It’s good that we got one point, but I wasn’t happy with the way I played.”
DALLAS -- Stars coach Glen Gulutzan shed some light on what the Stars are thinking in keeping injured captain Brenden Morrow out the next three games.

Morrow, who missed Wednesday's game with an upper body injury, will miss tonight's game against Toronto and road games at Phoenix (Saturday) and Colorado (Monday).

"Three times a year Brenden gets an injection for his back. His back has been bothering him a bit. We have to take care of that," Gulutzan said. "It's something that we build into the season. When I talked to Dave Zeis (head athletic trainer) in August, it is something we have to do three times during the year.

"And with the little nicks - his knee, the back and he had to go on antibiotics when his elbow was infected. So you get all these little things and Brenden will play through them all, and we don't want him to do that. We want him to get back to 100 percent and just quit battling at 70 percent. He won't say anything, but sometimes you have to make sure you are doing what's best long-term for the athlete and that's what we are doing right now."

The Stars take on the Maple Leafs tonight at American Airlines Center. It appears the Stars will go with the same lineup as Wednesday against the Kings. Kari Lehtonen, of course, in goal. Jonas Gustavsson is in net for Toronto.

Stars-Maple Leafs Preview

November, 24, 2011
Toronto Maple Leafs at Dallas Stars
Friday November 25
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (13-8-0) overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Loui Eriksson scored with 20.3 seconds remaining to tie and Steve Ott won it with 2:04 left in the extra period.

“We stuck with it,” said Ott. “I thought the game plan coming in was pretty well taken care of throughout the whole 60 minutes. The unfortunate part was we were down 2-0 so we had to come back out of a little bit of a hole. I think we outchanced them a lot tonight and I think the final result was probably the proper result.”

Kari Lehtonen will get the star in goal for the Stars Friday.

About the Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs (12-8-2) won 7-1 at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. It was the second time in the last three games that the Leafs had scored seven goals in a game.

“There were some moments, but we pretty much negated their forecheck for the most part,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. “And we wanted to push the pace and I thought we were really effective doing it.”

Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal for the Leafs for the Leafs Friday.

Injuries: G James Reimer (concussion), D Mike Komisarek (upper body), C Mikhail Grabovski (knee), F Mike Brown (lower body), F Matthew Lombardi (shoulder) and F Colby Armstrong (ankle) are out.

Series notes

*This is the first and only meeting between the Stars and Maple Leafs this season.

*The Maple Leafs won last season’s only meeting, topping the Stars 4-1 in Toronto.

*The Stars are 89-86-28 all-time against Toronto.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have outshot their opposition 73-42 over the last two games.

*The Stars are 0-11 on the power play over the last five games, although they did score a goal just a power play expired on Wednesday.

*The Maple Leafs have scored on the power play in five straight games and are 8-15 (53.3) on the PP during that stretch.

*The Stars are 9-9 on the penalty kill over the last two games.

*The Maple Leafs are 18-20 on the penalty over the last five games.

*Stars forward Steve Ott has scored the game-winning goal in each of the team’s last two games.

*Toronto’s Phil Kessel , who leads the NHL in goals (16) and points (30), has points in seven of his last eight games (6 goals, 3 assists).

Stars trade Fabian Brunnstrom to Toronto

January, 13, 2011
Fabian Brunnstrom’s days in the Dallas Stars organization are over. The Stars Thursday traded Brunnstrom to the Toronto Maple Leafs for right wing Mikhail Stefanovich, who is currently playing in Russia’s KHL.

Brunnstrom, a highly sought after free agent out of Sweden in 2008, had been playing for the Texas Stars of the AHL since early this season. He had 11 goals and 10 assists in 37 games with Texas. Brunnstrom is expected to join Toronto’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, this weekend.

The highly touted Brunnstrom never lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him when there were several teams pursuing him three years ago.

After signing with the Stars in the spring of 2008, Brunnstrom had an excellent rookie season in 2008-09, registering 17 goals in 55 games with Dallas. His second season didn’t go quite as well. In 2009-10 registered only 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 44 games. He was slowed by injuries and found himself a healthy scratch quite a few times as well. There were a couple of conditioning assignments in the AHL.

He had a strong start at the Stars training camp in Prince Edward Island this season, but he faded and could never secure a spot in the lineup. The Stars finally decided that he needed time in the American Hockey League. They put him on waivers October 15, he cleared the next day and was assigned to the AHL, where he has been ever since.

Thursday’s trade saves some money for the Stars, who added about $1.4 million to their payroll with the recent acquisition of Jamie Langenbrunner in a trade with New Jersey.

Brunnstrom is on a one-way contract, which pays him the same whether he plays in the NHL or AHL. He was making $675,000, so the Stars will no longer be paying his salary for the rest of the season. They also saved some money when they moved Brandon Segal to the AHL. Segal is on a two-way contract, which pays him $130,000 in the minors compared to the $550,000 he makes at the NHL level.

Stefanovich, who comes to the Stars in the deal with the Maple Leafs, is currently playing with Minsk Dynamo of the KHL, where he has one goal and a minus-two rating in 15 games. The 21-year-old native of Belarus, also played two games this season for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL, registering no points. He logged 4 games with the Reading of the ECHL, picking up three goals and two assists.

Stefanovich, a fourth round (98th overall) pick by the Maple Leafs in 2008, played three seasons for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he had 210 points (106 goals, 104 assists) in 171 games.

Stars-Leafs thoughts & observations

November, 23, 2010
Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars lost 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night.
  • I don’t think there needs to be a lot said about this one. The Stars were simply flat on this night. It was a collective failure. Not sure why. It wasn’t the schedule. They had Sunday off. But they were listless, seemed to be a step behind at times and it was a dud performance. They were flat from the start and it seemed to carry through for 60 minutes.
  • Quote from Stars coach Marc Crawford: "I thought we would have a little bit more energy than we did, but we didn't. The only consolation is the whole group didn't and there isn't one guy that can be satisfied with this game and that's coaches included. We're disappointed as well. We talked about the right things. We thought our preparation was good, but obviously we've got to look again and make sure we get ready for the next game in Ottawa."
  • Although they rallied the last two games to get three of four points, they can’t continue to put themselves in holes and hope dig out of them. Tonight was proof of that.
  • The road woes continue. The Stars have lost four straight away from home and five of six. They’ve scored four goals in the last four road games. They are now 1-27 on the power play on the road. Their road record didn’t do them any favors last year and it’s something they need to rectify moving forward this season.
  • It wasn’t exactly a pretty game from either side, but give the Maple Leafs credit. They were the better team. They worked hard, won puck battles, were better defensively. Their commitment to block shots was impressive. Jonas Gustavsson was solid in net. Luke Schenn had an impressive game. Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski teamed up on a couple of goals and that’s all they needed.
  • Monday’s game is just one of 82, but those are two points they’ll never get back. Wednesday’s game is a chance to get back on track, get some traction on the road and get some points. We’ll see what they roll out.

Stars fall flat in loss to Toronto

November, 22, 2010
The Dallas Stars fell behind for the third straight game, but there was no comeback this time around. There was another loss on the road, their fourth straight. This one came at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs by a final score of 4-1.

“It wasn’t pretty tonight. We talked about how they were going to come hard and pressure us and we didn’t handle it well at all,” said Stars center Brad Richards, who scored the team’s lone goal. “You’re not just going to turn switches on all the time in the NHL and score three or four and get back into games. We got what we deserved tonight. We weren’t really in the game from the start.”

Nikolai Kulemin scored the first two goals of the game for Toronto, putting them up 1-0 midway through the first period and then making it a 2-0 game with 5:55 left in the second period. Richards would make it a 2-1 game 1:26 after Kulemin’s second goal, but the Leafs extended the lead to 3-1 with a Tyler Bozak goal just 1:36 after the Richards goal.

There weren’t many positives for the Stars. The one goal scored gave them a total of four over their last four road games. They were 0-2 on the power play and they are 1-27 on the power play on the road this season. They could only muster 22 shots on Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Twenty-seven of their shots were blocked by the guys playing in front of the Gustavsson.

“Give credit to the opposition. They played well, they played harder than us and they deserved to win,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “You can’t look at anybody on our team that can’t feel a little bit responsible for this, coaches included. When the total team doesn’t play well we all have to look at each other.”

After winning three of four on the road to start the season, the Stars have now lost four straight away from home to fall to 3-5-0 on the road. During that four-game road slide they’ve been outscored 16-4.

“We’ve got to start winning some road games,” said Richards. “The West is too tight to be going out on the road and putting a lot of pressure on yourself at home. “

The Stars will get another crack at righting the ship on the road Wednesday when they play at Ottawa.

“The good thing about our sport is you get to come back very quickly,” said Crawford. “You have to park these games and move forward.”


“The positive thing is there are a billion people in China that don’t know that we played terrible tonight.”

-Stars coach Marc Crawford after his team’s 4-1 loss in Toronto Monday night

Quotable II

“When I saw him fighting [Colton] Orr I thought he was cheating on me.”

Former NHL player Brad May, who made a guest appearance on the Dallas Stars broadcast Monday night, talking about Stars forward Krys Barch. May and Barch fought several times over the years.

Stars-Maple Leafs Notes

November, 22, 2010
Game summary: Toronto 4, Dallas 1
The Dallas Stars lost their fourth straight road game, falling 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre Monday night. Brad Richards scored the lone goal for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves. Nikolai Kulemin scored twice for Toronto. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 21 of 22 shots.

  • The Stars have lost four straight games on the road and five of the last six away from home.
  • The Stars have scored four goals in their last four road games.
  • The Stars were 0-2 on the power play Monday, are 0-19 in their last six road games and are now 1-27 on the power play on the road this season.
  • The Stars put 67 shots towards the Toronto net Monday night - 21 were stopped by Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson, 27 were blocked by Toronto players and 18 missed the net.
  • Toronto defenseman Francois Beauchemin blocked 6 shots for Toronto.
  • Toronto won 33 of 61 faceoffs.
  • Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas was minus-4 in the game. Mike Ribeiro was minus-3.
  • Stars forward James Neal left the game in the second period after getting cut on his leg by a skate, but returned for the beginning of the third period.
Stars lineup



Raycroft (backup)

Scratches: Segal, Woywitka

Power play units


Penalty kill units


Stars fall 4-1 to Maple Leafs

November, 22, 2010
The Dallas Stars lost their fourth straight game on the road, falling 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night at Air Canada Centre. Nikolai Kulemin scored two goals for the Maple Leafs, who got a 21-save performance from goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. Brad Richards scored the lone goal for Dallas, which has scored four goals in its last four road games. Dallas was 0-2 on the power play and is now 1-27 on the power play in road games this season. Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves. The Stars, who are now 10-8-1 on the season, play at Ottawa on Wednesday.

First period

The Leafs took that 1-0 lead about 30 seconds after their first power play of the game expired. A Luke Schenn point shot was tipped by Mikhail Grabovski and then went into the net off Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin at the 10:52 mark.

Some notes from the first period.
  • The Maple Leafs outshot the Stars 7-6.
  • Toronto blocked 11 shots in the period.
  • The Stars had 7 blocked shots.
  • Both teams were 0-1 on the power play.
  • Both teams won 12 faceoffs.
  • Stars forward Krys Barch and Leafs forward Colton Orr staged a long fight just 2:26 into the game.
  • The Stars top six forwards were the same as last game: Neal-Richards-Eriksson/Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn. Tom Wandell centered another line with Brian Sutherby and Adam Burish. Steve Ott was on a line with Barch and Toby Petersen.
  • Brandon Segal and Jeff Woywitka were the scratches for the Stars.
Second period

The Toronto Maples Leafs outscored the Dallas Stars 2-1 in the second period to extend their lead to 3-1 heading into the second intermission.

Toronto made it a 2-0 game at the 14:05 mark when Nikolai Kumelin took a pass from Mikhail Grabovski off the rush, put a shot on net, got his own rebound and then scored from the right circle.

The Stars cut the lead to 2-1 when Steve Ott circled the net and backhanded the puck into the slot, where Brad Richards blasted the puck past Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson at the 15:31 mark.

But 1:36 later Toronto extended the lead with a goal off the rush. After Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas fell at the Dallas blue line, the Leafs entered the zone with three men and Tyler Bozak beat Kari Lehtonen high to make it a 3-1 game.

Some notes after two periods:
  • Stars forward James Neal left the game in the second period with what appeared to be a leg injury. He returned for the start of the third period.
  • Toronto outshot the Stars 10-9 in the second period and has a 17-15 advantage for the game.
  • The Stars are 0-2 on the power play and Toronto is 0-1.
  • The Maple Leafs have won 24 of 43 faceoffs in the game.
Third period

The Leafs maintained their 3-1 lead throughout the third period. The Stars pulled goalie Kari Lehtonen for an extra attacker with just over two minutes remaining, but couldn’t cut into Toronto’s lead. Kris Versteeg scored into an empty net with 10.3 seconds remaining to make it a 4-1 final.

Brad Richards talks rumors

November, 22, 2010
With the Dallas Stars in Toronto that means a lot of attention from the hockey media and a hot topic is Brad Richards, whose name is in the rumor mill these days.

Richards is the final year of his contract and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in July. The Stars would like to sign him to an extension, but that's kind of hard with the team's ownership situation still up in the air. That means there is a lot of speculation about whether the Stars might have to consider trading Richards.

And when there are trade rumors involving big name players, the Maple Leafs always seem to take center stage. Richards was asked about the rumors and speculation today in Toronto and the National Post has a transcript of some of Richards' comments. A couple of excerpts:
Does he think about the speculation?
“I’m not going to lie to you, the situation is what it is. It’s not something that isn’t talked about, and it’s not something that (general manager) Joe (Nieuwendyk) and I haven’t talked about. We know a trade’s not ideal for this time being … but obviously, we’re open and talking about it and giving the chance for ownership to come in. But I’m a Dallas Star, and that’s where my focus is right now.”

Does Toronto’s alleged involvement pique his interest?
“When the time comes, if that’s an option, Toronto’s always a No. 1 hockey destination. It would be great being a Canadian playing in Toronto, but we’re not even close to that bridge yet. And like I said, I’m focused here. I have so much respect for Joe Nieuwendyk, and to even talk about other teams is not even close to being fair.”

The rest of the Post's transcript is here.

Kari Lehtonen in goal tonight

November, 22, 2010
No surprise, Kari Lehtonen will start in goal tonight for the Dallas Stars as they take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto. It will be Lehtonen's 17th start in 19 games for the Stars.

Jonas Gustavsson will start for the Maple Leafs. Since taking over for the injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the third period of a game last week, Gustavsson has stopped 72 of 75 shots. The Monster is 2-4-1 with a 2.48 goals against average and .919 save percentage this season.

West shaping up to be tighter than ever

November, 22, 2010
The good news for the Dallas Stars in their last two games was they were able to overcome deficits and get three out of four points in games against Western Conference opponents.

On the flip side, by going to overtime in both games and falling in a shootout in one of them, those two opponents picked up a combined three points as well.

In what is usually a tight conference race there is always on a premium on points, and based on how things are going so far in the West this season that premium on points is going to be higher than ever.

“I’ve never seen a season like it where one side is ridiculously efficient in the points that we’re getting,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “It hasn’t been a particularly large season in terms in the amount of overtime games and shootout games, but they are starting to pick up. And you have to get the points when you can.”

Crawford noted that on Friday night there were eleven Western Conference teams playing and eight of them picked up points. Saturday night ten West teams played and seven of them registered at least one point. On Sunday it was four of six teams getting points.

What that’s added up to at this point in the season are seven teams – second place to ninth place – separated by just three points points. The nine teams from second place to eleventh are separated by just four points.

There is a five point difference between the first place team and the eighth place team in the West. The 13th place team in the conference is just two points out of eighth and seven points out of first.

At this same point last season – a little under one-quarter of the way through the NHL schedule – the difference between first and eighth was eight points. The difference between the top team and 13th was 16 points. The 13th place team was eight points out of the final playoff spot last season.

Stars hit the road

The Stars didn’t practice Sunday. They had an early afternoon flight for Toronto, where they will play the Maple Leafs on Monday night. They have a game in Ottawa on Wednesday before returning back to Dallas.

“These are a couple of teams that are struggling, Toronto and Ottawa. I think they’ve been struggling the last little while as much as I’ve been trying to keep an eye on the East,” Stars forward Steve Ott said. “These aren’t going to be easy. You’re kind of going into a bee’s nest and our road performance hasn’t been so great lately. We had a great homestand and if we can take that same kind of presence onto the road, hopefully we can pull some big points out of there.”

The Stars have lost three straight on the road and four of the last five away from home. They are 5-1-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season.

Stars-Maple Leafs Preview

November, 21, 2010
Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs
Monday November 22
6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK

About the Stars

The Stars (10-7-1) are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to Colorado on Saturday. The Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit to get the game to overtime and to pick up one point.

“When you have a team that doesn’t quit you are always going to be in games,” said Stars forward Steve Ott. “We find a way to scratch and claw and rip some skin apart and get in there, and we definitely did that again tonight. We made a pretty good game out of it and got a huge point.”

The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for the Stars.

Dallas plays four of its next five games on the road, where it has lost three straight and four of the last five.

Injuries: No major injuries.

About the Maple Leafs

The Leafs (7-9-3) are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal Saturday night. Jonas Gustavsson, playing for the injured J-S Giguere, stopped 36 shots for Toronto.

"It's a shame that we couldn't get a couple of goals for him and give him a little bit more support, but Monster was tremendous tonight," Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek said.

After starting the season 4-0-0, the Leafs are 3-9-3 in their 15 games since then.

Injuries: G J-S Giguere (groin), D Dion Phaneuf (leg) and F Colby Armstrong (finger/foot) are out.

Series Notes
  • This is the first and only meeting between the Stars and Maple Leafs this season.
  • The Stars won last season’s meeting, topping the Leafs 4-3 in Dallas.
  • The Stars have won the last four games against Toronto.
Statistical Tidbits
  • The Stars have scored three goals in their last three road games, all losses.
  • The Maple Leafs have been shut out four times in their last 11 games.
  • The Stars have allowed six power play goals in their last five games and are 20-26 (76.9%) on the penalty kill during that stretch.
  • Toronto is 7-19 on the power play over the last four games.
  • The Stars have scored on the power play in three straight games (3-14).
  • The Maple Leafs have allowed multiple power play goals in four of their last nine games.