Maple Leafs’ two elite lines continue high-octane play vs. Stars

DALLAS – When contemplating how his Dallas Stars might attempt to derail the Toronto Maple Leafs runaway-train offence before Tuesday’s game, head coach Jim Montgomery had a simple message: "Hope and pray."
Even that wasn’t enough.
Auston Matthews and John Tavares each scored two more goals while Mitch Marner added a goal and three assists as the high-octane Leafs spanked Dallas 7-4.
Consider that the Stars had allowed just one goal over their first two games. Toronto clinically put three pucks behind Ben Bishop during a four-minute stretch in the second period – with Matthews and Tavares sandwiching power-play goals around one from Ron Hainsey – and ended up seeing the Dallas goalie match his most goals allowed in a 326-game NHL career.
"Their transition to offence is incredible," said Montgomery.
Dallas also had a strong game from its offensive stars – with top liners Alex Radulov, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn each scoring along with top defenceman John Klingberg.

Thursday January 01, 1970

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Thursday January 01, 1970

But the Leafs are rolling out two elite lines. Zach Hyman has proven to be a great fit with Tavares and Marner, winning puck battles before setting each player up for a goal at 5-on-5. Kasperi Kapanen had a second strong game since moving alongside Matthews, finding his centreman at the top of the right circle during the first period.
When you give the Leafs a power play? Good luck. They went 2-for-3 and only needed 3:04 with the man advantage to accomplish it.
"Up front, at the centre position, they’re very deep," said Seguin. "Everyone knows that. You guys make sure that everyone knows that. They’re a heck of a hockey team and they’ve been winning a lot of games with big scores."
Toronto leads the NHL with 19 goals scored, but also with 17 allowed against. Playing with better structure and protecting their own zone will continue to be a point of emphasis.
But after watching them score 14 times in a three-day stretch you couldn’t help but think they’ll be able to outscore their problems.
Morgan Rielly had four assists on Tuesday to boost his point total to 10. Matthews has scored in each of the Leafs four games and has a league-leading seven on the season.
Remember this is a team still playing without William Nylander because of a contract impasse.

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