Nazem Kadri scored two goals in the game’s first 30 minutes and Jake Gardiner and William Nylander had five assists between them as the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Thursday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas in the two teams’ final game before the All-Star break.
Toronto is now 5-1-2 over its past seven road games and heads to the break in third place in the Atlantic Division standings, 15 points ahead of fourth-place Detroit. The Maple Leafs have a plus-16 goal differential.
The Maple Leafs were playing the second game of a back-to-back after winning 3-2 at Chicago in overtime on Wednesday. In that victory, Toronto captured its first win in Chicago since February 2003.
Dallas had outscored opponents 13-1 over its past two games but had no answer for the Maple Leafs and goalie Curtis McElhinney, who stopped 39 of the 40 shots he faced and stopped five Stars’ power plays.
Kadri got Toronto on the board at the 15:50 mark of the first period when he wristed a deflected shot from Mitchell Marner past sprawling Dallas netminder Ben Bishop and into the open net. Gardiner, who started the scoring play with a rush up the ice on a mini-breakaway, was also credited with an assist on the play.
Zach Hyman added to the Maple Leafs’ lead when he lit the lamp on a tip-in of a shot by Nylander just 1:55 into the second period.
Kadri added his second goal of the night with 10:31 to play in the second period as his shot from just inside the faceoff circle to Bishop’s left was deflected by Dallas defenseman Mattias Janmark and into the net.
Dallas finally answered as Tyler Seguin waited in the slot to the right of McElhinney for a perfect pass from Alexander Radulov and sent it into the net to cut the lead to 3-1 with 2:17 to play in the second period.
Toronto wasn’t done as an Auston Matthews slapshot from outside the left faceoff circle pushed the Maple Leafs’ lead to 4-1 at the 2:38 mark of the third period. Nylander and Gardiner received assists on the goal.
--Field Level Media