LGD: Stretch Run

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of February, and the rebuilding Toronto Maple Leafs will be in the thick of the eastern conference playoff race. I just wrote those words in real life. 

With the All-Star weekend behind us, the team now embarks on a very busy second-half run where they’ll start to close the gap on those around them in terms of games played, and the standings will start to become clearer. That all gets going with a game tonight against the somewhat surprisingly mediocre Stars in Dallas. 

Get stressed.


THE LEAFS

THE STARS

STARTING GOALTENDERS

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it’s probably safe to say Andersen (0.921 sv%) will go for the Leafs. Kari Lehtonen (0.902 sv%) looks to be the starter for the Stars. 

QUICK NUMBERS


TOR DAL
Wins 23 20
Points-Percentage .585 .500
Powerplay 23.3%  17.2%
Penalty Kill 85.4%  74.0%
Score-adjusted Corsi  51.5% (8th)  49.7% (19th) 

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR

This is the Leafs’ first meeting with the Stars this season, meaning it’s the first time many of these players have ever faced them. That probably isn’t important at all, but I figured I’d point out that the Auston Matthews tour finally hits Dallas. The two teams will play again in Toronto in a couple weeks.

As for the game itself, while the Stars are having a rough season, they’re still loaded with plenty of talent at forward and can obviously blow a game open. Then again, trying to trade offence with the Leafs has been a nightmare for a lot of teams, and with Andersen going against the much weaker Lehtonen, we could see another big output in favour of Toronto, especially with a top-3 powerplay going against the worst penalty kill in the entire league. With the Leafs also much stronger on the flipside of that, special teams could be a big deal tonight. 

Game goes at 8:30 EST.