November 25, 2011
Leafs power play worries Stars
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
DALLAS - There won’t be any lineup changes for the Maple Leafs on Friday night when they play the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center.
There was some thought during the morning skate that defenceman Korbinian Holzer would make his regular-season debut and that Jake Gardiner would be moved up to forward, but coach Ron Wilson said the lineup will remain the same.
Jonas Gustavsson will start in goal for the Leafs (12-8-2).
The Stars (13-8-0) will counter with Kari Lehtonen, who has an NHL-best 13 victories.
“We’re not here if we don’t have Kari,” Stars coach Glenn Gulutzan said. “He has been that important to us.
“He has been our anchor, our go-to guy. Of all of our players, he has given us a chance to win night in and night out.”
Dallas will try to counter the Leafs’ speed by mucking up the neutral zone.
“We have faced a lot of teams like that this year,” Wilson said. “We just have to move the puck quickly, stickhandle in tight situations, and keep advancing the puck, getting it in behind their defence.
“The challenge tonight will be to build on what we have been generating the past four periods or so.”
Winger Mike Brown, believed to be sidelined with a groin problem, has been placed on injured reserve. But there will not be a player called up, Wilson said.
Centre Mikhail Grabovski (lower body) is on course to return to the lineup on Wednesday when the Leafs play host to the Boston Bruins.
Dallas will be without captain Brenden Morrow, who has had a history of back trouble. Morrow needs three injections a year, Gulutzan said, and is dealing with that problem.
The Leafs have scored eight goals in their past 15 power plays, a fact that underlines the discipline the Stars have to bring. Phil Kessel, with 16 goals, leads the Leafs with four power-play goals. Joffrey Lupul is second with three.
“Their power play has been lethal,” Stars defenceman Sheldon Souray said. “Does (Phil) Kessel have 20 goals yet? It’s insane.
“Our team as a whole takes on a lot of water and (Lehtonen) has been there to save us. We have to be better defensively.”