Dallas Stars Crush Toronto Maple Leafs 7-1

Ronald Martinez

A four-goal second period lead the way for Dallas as they ran the visiting Leafs right out of the building.

Over the course of their eight games leading up to their date with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night the Dallas Stars were averaging two goals per game while giving up nearly four.

They've now followed that up with a 4-0 victory and a 7-2 shellacking of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who entered hot on a six-game streak.

And the 1-8-1 stretch is just a bad memory, though the damage inflicted may prove irrevocable in the end.

This one started curiously enough as both teams tried to use their speed in transition. Both teams committed egregious turnovers and both scored early. They like to play similar styles and the mirror-image might have been the story on another night.

But the Stars had another one of their patented home goal explosions in the works (like against Calgary, Philadelphia, Anaheim...) and put a four-spot on the Leafs thanks to work by Valeri Nichushkin, Shawn Horcoff, Rich Peverley and Trevor Daley.

Five-on-five, four-on-four, power play, and shorthanded. Kari Lehtonen even had an assist.

The win pulls the Stars... well, just enjoy the win tonight. Pittsburgh brings their potent offensive attack to town on Saturday and the turnovers served up by the Leafs and the penalty trouble offered freely by the Wild will be pleasant memories long gone.

First Period:

Jamie Benn and company forced a turnover deep in Toronto territory, resulting in a spectacular dangle and top-shelf finish for the Stars captain to give Dallas the lead.

Number 41 for Toronto then reversed what number 14 did exactly 30 seconds later when a wrister from the point unwittingly found his stick in front of Kari Lehtonen, who couldn't see the shot, and tipped in to knot things at one.

A needless Ryan Garbutt slashing penalty on the forecheck set the Maple Leafs up with a power play on which they did not record a single shot. Cody Eakin then took the ice at the penalty's expiration to join Ryan Garbutt, and scored in transition from the high slot to restore Dallas' lead.

The Stars power play then returned to its regularly scheduled program with a fruitless two-minute turn as time ran out on on a pretty sloppy first period.

Dallas out-attempted Toronto 23-10 in the first.

Second Period:

The Stars scored a lot of goals in the second period.

It started innocently enough. Like a warm glass of milk or a CBS procedural. It was putting everyone to sleep.

Then a Jamie Benn point shot (awarded to Benn, then to Seguin, then to Benn, then finally to Nichushkin) found its way past Bernier and the game exploded following a goaltender change.

Shawn Horcoff scored on James Reimer on the power play two minutes later, then Rich Peverley added a shorthanded tally three minutes after that. Trevor Daley would add the sixth on a wicked one-timer from the right circle and the rout was on.

Dallas out-shot them 12-6 in the period, scoring four goals on their first seven shots of the frame, and easily cold have had more.

Third Period:

With the officials looking the other way on offside calls and the clock running the third was pre-ordained to be perfunctory.

But don't tell that to Val Nichushkin. He might not understand you, anyway. Jamie Benn fed Tyler Seguin on the attack three minutes in and Nichushkin cruised down the middle unmolested to slam the rebound home for this second of the night.

The stink on this one, if there is any, also came when Colton Orr hit Cody Eakin, sending him to the locker room and probably saving Dustin Jeffrey a trip to Cedar Park tomorrow. We'll get an update up when it's available from coach Ruff's mustachioed lips.

Toronto tried and tried to get something going late but the fight was over for Dallas, and Kari Lehtonen was hearing none of it.

Briefly:

These two home games have been cathartic to say the least. Does it mean a hill of beans in the long run? Maybe? Maybe not? Do you look at these in a month and wonder what they WOULD have done at the deadline if they hadn't up and killed the Leafs and the Wild randomly? Or is a springboard? Who know. My advice is- Enjoy these kinds of things because they don't happen much to us, now do they?

Brenden Dillon played his 100th NHL game tonight. Erik Cole played his 800th.

The following players played pretty well: Everyone.

We joked that they were trolling Tyler Seguin with all of these goals but knowing hockey players it probably did become a joke on the bench. Everything was funny tonight.

There was a lot of disbelief in the press box that Val scored that first one. PR, the off ice officials and others all swear he did. I look forward to seeing that angle. Nice night for the rookie and maybe a confidence booster on a night that didn't feature much in the way of pressure of defensive responsibility.

The employment of Colton Orr is something of a mystery.

Kari Lehtonen was quietly good. The assist is a nice little bonus. Party favors for everyone tonight, it seems.

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