DALLAS â€” Devin Shore followed the Toronto Maple Leafs closely while he was growing up in Ajax, Ontario. And in his first career game against them, the Dallas rookie scored the first goal and assisted on the second.
Kari Lehtonen made 40 saves and five Stars players scored in the first period Tuesday night on the way to a 6-3 victory over the Maple Leafs.
“I was definitely excited for this game,” Shore said. “I tried to approach it like any other game. It was an important one during the schedule, but it was a really cool thing.”
Dallas took a 3-0 lead on goals by Shore, linemate Radek Faksa and Lauri Korpikoski. After Korpikoski’s goal at 11:18, Curtis McElhinney replaced Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen.
“Coach, players, goalies, everybody â€” we were bad,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “Can’t be very proud of the way you walk out of the rink tonight.”
Tyler Bozak scored on a power play at 13:50 of the first for Toronto, but Brett Ritchie and Jamie Benn answered to give the Stars a 5-1 lead after one.
“We knew where we were at in the standings, and we know how important these points are,” said Benn, the Stars’ captain. “We talked about it. Getting off to a good start was a key of ours tonight.”
The Stars had allowed their opponents to score first in the previous seven games, when Dallas was 2-3-2.
They have won two straight games, a rarity in a season when the Stars have won only four games following a victory.
Dallas was up 6-3 after the second. Nikita Soshnikov and Mitchell Marner scored for the Maple Leafs in the period, and Jason Spezza for Dallas.
Toronto outshot Dallas 43-20 overall. Lehtonen stopped all 14 shots in the third period, when the Stars had only one shot on goal.
“I thought Kari played very well,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Made a lot of very timely saves. In the second, he made a couple real good saves to keep it where it was at. I thought he made a couple big saves in the third period.”
Andersen made five saves, and McElhinney stopped nine of 12 shots.
Shore and Ritchie each had a goal and an assist, while Dan Hamhuis and Tyler Seguin each had two assists.
For the Maple Leafs, Marner had a goal and an assist.
On the first goal, Shore skated from the Stars blue line through the right faceoff circle and in front of Andersen before putting the puck on his forehand for a wrist shot at 2:53.
“I just tried to pick up as much speed as I could,” Shore said. “If you can get a little step on the defenceman, you can protect the puck and stick your knee out and get body position. If there’s room to cut across, you try that. It happened pretty quick.”
Just 1:44 later, Faksa scored with a wrist shot on the rebound of Shore’s shot.
NOTES: The Stars’ previous five-goal period was the third on Dec. 13 in a 6-2 victory over Anaheim. … The last time the Maple Leafs had allowed five in a period was April 3, 2009, against Philadelphia. … Dallas’ penalty killing ranks last in the NHL. Bozak’s power-play goal was the 45th vs. the Stars in 51 games this season. That’s one more than they allowed in 82 games last season. … Dallas has scored on the power play in six of the last eight games. … Toronto D Morgan Rielly missed his sixth straight game because of a knee injury. … Faksa (lower-body injury) returned for Dallas after missing two games.
Maple Leafs: Travel to St. Louis for their fourth of six straight road games on Thursday.
Stars: Play the fifth of six in a row at home on Thursday against Winnipeg.
The Associated Press