Benn, Stars seek payback against Leafs in Toronto

NHL Hockey

The Dallas Stars will be out for revenge Thursday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs defeated the Stars 5-3 in Dallas on Jan. 29 and the Stars would like to return the favor as they go for their third straight win after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 on Tuesday.

“That was one of our better games for 60 minutes for sure,” Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness told reporters after the game Tuesday.

The Stars have won four of their past six games, collecting points in five contests in that span (4-1-1).

The Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in overtime Tuesday. It was the third straight overtime game for the Maple Leafs, who are 2-2-1 in their past five games.

Toronto reserve goaltender Jack Campbell, acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings last week, has started three straight games and the team is 2-0-1. He stopped 35 shots Tuesday.

No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen has missed the past four games with a neck injury and is expected to return soon, possibly Thursday.

If Andersen does play Thursday, he will have to deal with Stars captain Jamie Benn, who notched his sixth career hat trick on Tuesday and leads the team with 18 goals.

“When he gets going like that, he’s a force,” Bowness said.

Benn had one goal in the first 20 games of the season, going 15 games without a tally at one point.

Speaking of droughts, Stars center Tyler Seguin will enter Thursday without a goal in 17 games and is stuck on 11 goals for the season. He did earn an assist Benn’s second goal on Tuesday, his team-leading 30th helper of the season.

In talking about his two stars seemingly going in opposite directions, Bowness said, “They’re doing a lot of things to help us win games. Both of them. So Jamie gets rewarded tonight with his goals and Tyler’s goals are coming because he’s doing a lot to help us win games. The most important points are the team’s two points, so it’s nice to see Jamie get rewarded and Tyler’s time is coming for sure.”

The Maple Leafs got two regulation-time goals from Zach Hyman and the overtime winner from Kasperi Kapanen on Tuesday. Alex Kerfoot had two assists.

Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe experimented with a line of Auston Matthews at center, William Nylander on left wing and Mitch Marner on right wing.

“It was a combination of a little bit of curiosity and how that might play out and, also, I was happy with the line of Kerfoot, (John) Tavares and Hyman so I thought the timing was right to try such a thing,” Keefe said. “In terms of how it went, I didn’t think it went very well, but I don’t know that it’s fair to judge on it on a night like this — Willy wasn’t himself tonight. It’s a tough night to judge such a thing. The good news is the Tavares line was going tonight.”

Nylander missed the previous two games with the flu.

“I think he’s probably way over that, but he didn’t do anything for four days,” Keefe said. “He didn’t do anything at all. Willy is a guy that loves to be on the ice, loves routine, loves to touch the puck. It’ll take him a little bit to get back.”

–Field Level Media

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