The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a heartbreaker on Monday night, falling 3-2 to rivals the New York Islanders after surrendering a goal in the final minutes.
While this loss likely won't make or break their season, the Toronto Maple Leafs need to win more games if they want a better seed come playoff time, and they need to especially win more games at home.
Coming into town Wednesday night are the Dallas Stars, who have looked like one of the NHL's top teams all season, currently sitting in the top-5 of the entire league.
While beating an opponent like the Stars is never easy, the Toronto Maple Leafs have had good fortunes playing against them in recent years.
Toronto Maple Leafs Game Preview: Game 49 vs Dallas Stars, February 7th, 2024
The Leafs have not lost to the Stars since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know, how crazy does that sound?
The Leafs are 5-0 vs the Stars in their last 5 meetings, with their most recent loss coming in February of 2020. (all stats: statmuse.com). This includes their first matchup from this season, which was in October 2023, where the Leafs won handily 4-1.
While the Leafs and Stars do not play each other very often, 5 straight wins against a team like Dallas is a big accomplishment, especially since they've been a playoff team 4 of the past 5 seasons.
On paper, however, Dallas looks like the much better team and like true Stanley Cup contenders.
The Stars also best the Leafs in many important team stats, including goals for, goals against, and penalty kill, with the Leafs owning a better power play.
There's really no way to predict who will win this game, as has been the case for most of the Leafs games so far this year.
It's been a very inconsistent year for the Leafs, including 2 losses to Chicago earlier in the season, and a 9-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. To contradict this, the Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-0, and swept a California road trip in early January.
Either way, this will be a good game to watch.
If I had to make a prediction for this game, I'd say the Leafs win 5-2. The Stars are clearly the better team, but history doesn't lie.
The Stars are probably OK with losing a game like this anyways, it'll be the second half of a back-to-back, and the Leafs could use a win over a strong team like the Stars to get their mojo back.