Tonight in Big D: Stars hope to stay hot, Leafs hope to bust slump

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Two teams headed in opposite directions meet tonight in Dallas, where the Stars, winners of four straight, host the Toronto Maple Leafs, losers of three in a row.

The Stars are home after sweeping a three-game trip to Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Sunday’s win over the Oilers, 6-5 in a shootout, was looking like a loss after Edmonton took a 5-2 second-period lead, but one goal by Jamie Benn and two more by Tyler Seguin tied things up in regulation.

“It was a gutsy effort,” Benn said. “We laid an egg in the second period and we found a way to grind it out for 20 minutes and found a way to win the shootout. We have a lot of character guys in here and we really wanted to finish this road trip off with two points.”

Dallas is still eight points back of a playoff spot, so there remains work to be done to get back into the race, where GM Jim Nill expects to be.

The Leafs, meanwhile, are coming off a 4-0 loss in Chicago. In their last three outings, all defeats, they’ve been outscored 15-5.

Now just three points clear of a playoff spot, Toronto plays 15 of its next 19 games on the road, where it’s gone 5-4-3 this season.

“We don’t want to go into the break with four losses,” said coach Randy Carlyle.