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DALLAS– The Dallas Stars have won their past two games by a combined 13-2.

Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock wants to see his team deliver another winning performance Thursday night when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs in the final game before the All-Star break.

“We’re doing the things that you need to do to win in the National Hockey League Authentic Kyle Schwarber Jersey ,” Hitchcock said. “We’re beginning to understand and we’re working hard at it at putting work in ahead of skill.

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“That’s a hard goal for a lot of teams to continually do that. I like where we’re going, but we’ve got to play even better to get into the playoffs than we’ve played already. I like where the players are at physically and mentally, that we’re willing to put the work in.”

Dallas (28-17-4, 60 points), which is 17-6-1 at home, blitzed the Florida Panthers 6-1 on Tuesday. Captain Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov scored their 20th goals of the season and the teams combined for 138 penalty minutes while 12 players recorded at least one point.

The physicality from that game was one reason Hitchcock made practice optional Wednesday morning.

“Today we were tired,” Hitchcock said. “We were tired from the (road) trip and we were tired really during the game. What happened at the start of the game gave us additional energy. We did play with a lot better energy after that, but we did look tired in the morning and at the start of the game.

Hitchcock said that his starting goaltender Authentic Phil Niekro Jersey , forward lines and defensive pairings will all remain the same against the Maple Leafs as they were against the Panthers.

That means Ben Bishop gets the nod in goal while rookie defenseman Dillon Heatherington, a recent call-up from AHL Texas, remains in the Stars’ third defensive pair alongside Stephen Johns.

Dallas will still be without veteran center Martin Hanzal (lower body) and defenseman Marc Methot (knee), but both are expected back when the Stars return from the break Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

“Yeah. We’re healthy,” Hitchcock said Wednesday. “Methot skated today, felt good, good sign. We’re hoping that the two injured guys (Hanzal and Methot) are going to be doing lots of rehab skating here in the next few days, so that’s a good sign. Those are good signs for us right now.”

The Stars are 12-4-4 against the Eastern Conference.

Toronto (27-18-5 Authentic Craig Kimbrel Jersey , 59 points) is seeking a similar goal, a win heading into the break. But the Maple Leafs will be playing the tail end of a back-to-back after edging the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime at United Center on Wednesday.

The Leafs, who are 14-10-3 on the road, 14-8-2 against the Western Conference and 4-3-2 against the Central Division, won it six seconds into the extra frame when William Nylander converted a penalty shot on a deft backhand.

It was a game Toronto coach Mike Babcock was happy to win, especially after a tough start to the game.

“They were fast, we were slow in the first (period). They skated us in the ground,” Babcock told The Athletic postgame. “It looked like (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrick) Kane still thought they should be the best players and we were just learning how to play.”

But the Leafs Authentic Patrick Corbin Jersey , who have played overtime in six of their past nine, prevailed for their first win in Chicago since February 2003. Toronto is 4-1-2 over its past seven road games.

“I thought we dug in, got playing better and obviously, a good win for our hockey club. I don’t think it was pretty, but we found a way to get it done.” Babcock said.

Babcock said after Wednesday’s victory that Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for Toronto in Dallas. It will be his first action since Dec. 20.

Toronto currently sits third in the Atlantic Division standings — 13 points ahead of fourth-place Detroit — and the Maple Leafs have a plus-13 goal differential, but the man behind the bench knows they can raise their game another level in the second half of the season.

“I still think we can play way better. I think we can play way harder and from the start of the game until the end,” Babcock said.

The Stars and Maple Leafs will meet a second time at Air Canada Centre on March 14. And even though Toronto has yet to see Dallas this season, Babcock knows what to expect Thursday.

“We’re playing a good Dallas team tomorrow Authentic Bobby Doerr Jersey , and it’s going to take a big effort to win, but we need that from everybody,” Babcock said.

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