Maple Leafs continue their road trip into Dallas to take on red hot Stars
Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita1 month ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are officially over halfway through their road trip, and they will continue things tonight when they travel to Dallas to take on the 4-0-1 Stars.
Coming off a win in their last game, the Maple Leafs didn’t look all that impressive against Washington. If they’re going to give up nearly 40 shots to this Stars team like they did against the Capitals, there’s a great chance they will score more than the one goal Washington did. It’s a big test for Toronto and an opportunity for them to play a complete game for once this season.
Maple Leafs’ lineup:
Surprisingly, there are no changes to the Maple Leafs’ lineup tonight. Heading into their last game against the Capitals, Sheldon Keefe and the coaching staff had made changes to the lines in four straight games, but it looks like they will be going with the same lineup that they used in Washington.
According to Mark Masters of TSN, these were the lines at Toronto’s skate this morning in Dallas. Joseph Woll is also the projected starter tonight for Toronto, and it will be his second straight start and third consecutive appearance in the net.
For the Dallas Stars, these are their projected lines for tonight’s contest, with goalie Scott Wedgewood getting the call between the pipes instead of Jake Oettinger.
This Stars team is a much better offensive and defensive team than what the Maple Leafs saw in Washington. If they plan on continuing this road trip with another win, they have to play a much better all-around game in all three zones on the ice in Dallas.
The Stars team can hurt you in different ways, and they are looked at as one of the best teams in the entire league with a real shot at the Stanley Cup this year.
One area that will be interesting is the special teams. Toronto currently has the 4th best power play at 35.0%, and Dallas has the best penalty kill at 100%. The game might come down to special teams if both teams play an even game at five-on-five.
Players to watch:
Tavares and Nylander each scored to extend their point streak to six games, Matthews broke his mini-goal drought by potting home his seventh of the year, and Domi added another assist to his season total after his two in Tampa Bay.
Tonight might be a game where the big boys continue their dominance that they’ve shown in the early going. However, Toronto needs to see something from Bertuzzi as well. He has just two points (one goal and one assist) in the six games to begin his tenure with the Maple Leafs.
I’m looking at him to have a big night for Toronto and form some chemistry with Tavares and Nylander, who both have been unbelievable to begin the 2023-24 season.
I’m also looking at the defence tonight. They have been giving up too many shots, high-danger chances and goals to begin the season. Samsonov hasn’t been able to save the Maple Leafs in that aspect as he did at times last season, but Joseph Woll has so far to begin the season.
With the amount of volume and the quality of chances Toronto is giving up, I don’t know if that goaltending is sustainable for Woll, so the defence is going to have to play much better in their zone and limit the opposition as much as possible.
After some of the departures in the off-season, it was clear that this team got worse defensively, but I did not expect it to be this bad through six games.
You can catch the Maple Leafs and Stars tonight in action on TSN4 at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT.
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