The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to keep piling up the points in the quest for an Eastern Conference playoff spot as they take on the Dallas Stars at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday. The Leafs have earned points in three straight with backup Jack Campbell between the pipes and will get Frederik Andersen back in goal.
“I’ve been feeling good, I’ve been patient. I feel ready to go again, it’s been a nice little process to make sure we hit the things we needed to and get ready.” Andersen said. “(I just want) to keep trying to play the way I did before the injury. I just want to keep that going, the guys have been playing well in the meantime and getting some points.”
Andersen missed 10 days with a sore neck and did not want to go into specifics about the injury, but indicated he is ready to go for the stretch run. With Andersen being activated off of injured reserve, Toronto placed goalie Michael Hutchinson on waivers.
The Leafs appear to be shaking off the illness going through the room, as all hands were on deck for the morning skate. Head coach Sheldon Keefe maintained the line combos that were together for the 3-2 overtime win against Arizona, with the “Extension Line” of William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner. John Tavares centered Alex Kerfoot and Zach Hyman, Jason Spezza skated in between Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen, and the fourth line of Kyle Clifford, Pierre Engvall, and Pontus Aberg.
From our perspective, we want to give (the Matthews line) a little bit of time to grow together. (On Tuesday), I didn’t think it was fair to judge the line, just because I didn’t think we didn’t have a strong game.” Keefe said, “(Nylander) was coming off his illness and hadn’t skated and (the line) hadn’t had much time together, so we wanted to give a little bit of a bigger sample.”
Toronto won the previous meeting 5-3 over the offensively challenged and defensively stingy Stars on January 29, and Dallas will have Ben Bishop in goal, but will be without veteran center Joe Pavelski.
Dallas prospect Jason Robertson was recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and will make his NHL debut. Robertson is the older brother of Leafs 2019 second-round pick Nick Robertson, currently second in OHL scoring with 42 goals.
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