STARS (13-9-4) at MAPLE LEAFS (14-11-3)
TV: FS-SW, LEAFS TV
Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2; Toronto 3-5-2
Season series: This is the first of two games. The Toronto Maple Leafs are 2-0-1 in the past three games against the Dallas Stars.
Big story: Injuries have bit the Maple Leafs and Stars hard recently. Toronto forward Phil Kessel left practice Wednesday with an undisclosed ailment, but he is expected to play Thursday. The Stars' Tyler Seguin missed the past two games with concussion-like symptoms following a hit against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Friday, but was cleared to play in the game Friday.
Stars: Dallas will close out a brief two-game road trip Thursday and will try to continue its recent success away from American Airlines Center. The Stars won seven of their past eight road games, including a 3-2 victory at the Blackhawks on Tuesday where Antoine Roussel scored the game-winning goal on a penalty shot. But with defensemen Stephane Robidas (broken leg) and Aaron Rome (lower body) on injured reserve and forward Ryan Garbutt (left game Tuesday after blocking shot) also out Thursday, the Stars will have a lot to overcome against an equally banged-up Toronto team.
Maple Leafs: Toronto lost its past four games (0-2-2) and will need to turn it around while dealing with the possibility of missing some key components to its lineup. In addition to the questionable status of Kessel with what Carlyle called a "tweak in part of his body," center Tyler Bozak (upper-body injury suffered Tuesday) and right wing Colton Orr were placed on injured reserve Thursday. And while Joffrey Lupul participated in a portion of the full practice, the forward left the ice and did not return to deal with a continuing groin injury. But there might be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as defenseman Cody Franson (lower body) and forward Nazem Kadri (personal) skated Wednesday and are expected to be in the lineup Thursday. Forward Jerry D'Amigo was recalled and will make his NHL debut.
Carlyle recognizes the difficult road ahead in regards to the injuries, but put much of the responsibility to help the team bounce back on him and his assistants.
"Now it seems like every day we turn around, there's another key piece of the lineup that's not available to us," Carlyle said Wednesday. "I think it's imperative that we, as a coaching staff, show leadership."
Who's hot: Goalie Kari Lehtonen is 1-0-2 with an average of 34 saves per game over his past three starts for Dallas. … Forward James van Riemsdyk has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) over the past four games for Toronto.
Injury report: Garbutt won't play for the Stars on Thursday while Seguin is a game-time decision. Robidas and Rome are on injured reserve. … Forward Dave Bolland (knee) is out indefinitely for the Maple Leafs, while Bozak and Orr are on injured reserve and Lupul was on the ice ahead of the morning skate Thursday. Franson and Kadri are expected to play Thursday.
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