DALLAS (AP) — Matt Murray tallied a season-high 44 assists, and Mitch Marner extended his Toronto-record streak to 20 as the Maple Leafs beat the Dallas Stars 4-0 on Tuesday night.
John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Rasmus Sanden and Alexandre Kerfoot have all gone 9-0-3 in their last 12 matches. They came within three points of first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.
Dallas went 0-for-7 on the power play despite 17 shots on goal, including a four minute, 5-for-3 second double with 1:38 left.
Toronto blocked 27 shots in the first shutout of the season and the Stars missed 22 attempts.
“A big thank you to the guys who did defensive work tonight against a really dangerous team,” said Murray, who was acquired from Ottawa last summer and split his time in the net with compatriot Ilya Samsonov.
Murray is 6-0-2 since missing 15 games with an adductor muscle injury after his first start of the season.
“He was perfect,” said Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keef. “He made huge saves in key moments. Obviously, the number of penalties we took today could have been a big problem.”
The Stars were eliminated for the first time this season and tied with Winnipeg at the top of the Central Division with 33 points. The Airplanes have two games in hand.
Jake Oettinger stopped 25 shots.
It was the first ice hockey game to feature players who scored at least 18 games.
All-Star player Jason Robertson saw the end of his career at the age of 18, a Dallas record. Robertson leads the NHL with 23 goals.
Marner caught an assist when his wrist shot was blocked, but Tavares took advantage of the rebound at 4:51 of the first of two of Toronto’s goals in the first period.
“Like I said, this is not a one-man effort,” said Marner. “I’m just trying to get out there and make some noise.”
Matthews had the ball after his wrist shot was blocked and returned to the slot to score at 5:36.
Sandin collected a loose puck just outside the hole and scored at 12:19 of the second period for a 3-0 lead.
Kerfoot added an empty net with 3:53 remaining, rolling the ball off center ice. It was his first goal since the 3-2 win at home to Al Nojoom on 20 October.
Toronto played most of the game with only five defenders. Victor left Met with a lower body injury after playing just 3:04 of the first period. Mette is expected to miss at least a few games.
During a 5-on-3 split in Dallas late in the second, the Maple Leafs’ hands were tied further when Marner had to give up a broken stick. He was still able to block a shot.
Maple Leafs forward Semyon Dir Argochentsev made his NHL debut, playing 7:16.
This is the second and final meeting scheduled for this season between Robertson and his younger brother, Nick Robertson, the Maple Leafs striker.
Their mother, Mercedes, flew in from Michigan to watch the game. She followed her custom during these fraternal matches by wearing the home team’s jersey and the visitors’ hat.
Nick Robertson has scored just two goals for the season so far in the team’s previous encounter – including an extra-time goal.
“He wasn’t very happy,” Nick said of his brother when he visited Zara after that match.
Dallas is 0-for-11 in the powerplay over the past two games after finishing second in the NHL with 30% shooting in Sunday’s game, losing 6-5 on penalties to Minnesota.
“We had some great looks,” Captain Jimmy Bean said of Tuesday’s effort. “We have to find a way.”
Maple Leafs: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
The Stars: Host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
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