Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – Nikolai Kulemin scored twice and Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves, as the Toronto Maple Leafs got by the Dallas Stars, 4-1, at Air Canada Centre.
Tyler Bozak also tallied, while Kris Versteeg added an empty-net goal and an assist for Toronto, which has won three of four after losing its previous eight games. Mikhail Grabovski registered a pair of helpers in the victory.
Brad Richards had the lone goal for the Stars, who suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to Colorado on Saturday and have dropped five of seven overall. Kari Lehtonen turned aside 22-of-25 shots in defeat.
Toronto opened the scoring at 10:52 of the first when Luke Schenn’s point shot deflected off Grabovski, then Kulemin beat Lehtonen for his sixth goal of the season.
After the Maple Leafs killed off a Stars’ power-play chance in the middle stanza, Kulemin notched his second of the contest with 5:55 left in the period. Grabovski carried the puck into the Dallas zone and dropped it for Kulemin, who had his initial shot turned aside by Lehtonen, but followed his own rebound and fired it under the crossbar for a 2-0 game.
Richards’ one-timer from the slot got the Stars on the board less than a minute and a half later. However, Bozak restored the Leafs’ two-goal advantage with 2:53 to play on a wrister that got by Lehtonen on the glove side on a shot from the low right circle. It remained 3-1 after two periods.
Dallas pulled Lehtonen with over two minutes left in the third, but were unable to tally. Versteeg scored into the empty net with 11 seconds to play.
Toronto snapped a four-game losing streak to Dallas, but the Stars are still 6-2 with a tie in the last nine meetings overall…The Maple Leafs improved to 6-4-2 as the host this season, while the Stars fell to 3-5-0 as the guest.