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The Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action tonight following their brutal loss to the lowly Arizona Coyotes that was followed by head coach Sheldon Keefe issuing a challenge to his elite players. And they'll be going up against an undefeated Dallas Stars team, which certainly won't make Toronto's task tonight any easier.
Keefe will be expecting his team to spend more in the offensive zone tonight, and explained how they can go about it.
"It is recognizing the opportunities and the windows that are there to do so," Keefe said. "When you look at the game-winning goal against Ottawa, we had given up the lead, and you could just ride it out. That is a game where we were struggling to get inside, but there was a window of opportunity. If you pause that picture right when Justin Holl puts the puck in the net, we are right there with our sticks on the inside."
"That is a pretty good example. It is a team that is making it hard on you to get inside, but within the game, there are opportunities. You have to recognize those and get there. Sometimes, you don’t want to go inside because they have you out-numbered, it is not the right time, and you are probably going to give the puck away. But there were a lot of opportunities in the Arizona game where we didn’t recognize, didn’t execute, and didn’t attack."
Here are tonight's anticipated line combinations.
#58 Michael Bunting – #34 Auston Matthews – #16 Mitch Marner
#89 Nick Robertson – #91 John Tavares – #88 William Nylander
#47 Pierre Engvall – #15 Alex Kerfoot – #19 Calle Järnkrok
#12 Zach Aston-Reese – #64 David Kampf – #96 Nicolas Aubé-Kubel
#44 Morgan Rielly – #78 TJ Brodie
#38 Rasmus Sandin – #3 Justin Holl
#55 Mark Giordano – #98 Victor Mete
Starter: #35 Ilya Samsonov
#50 Erik Källgren
Tonight's game begins at 7:00 PM EST.