LEAFS STRUGGLED TO SCORE IN DEFENSIVE DUEL THROUGH FIRST TWO PERIODS
In what has become a pattern in their recent home games, the Leafs were unable to generate any offence through the first two periods of play - and although goaltender Frederik Andersen and the back-checking of winger Mitch Marner were two big reasons Toronto was able to keep Dallas off the scoresheet for nearly all of the first 40 minutes of play Thursday, you can't keep a talented group like the Stars scoreless all the time.
That proved to be true when Dallas took advantage of their first power play of the game midway through the second frame. A Leafs penalty had just expired when Stars centre Tyler Seguin's shot was deflected past Andersen at the 11:55 mark, and the visitors went into the third period with the game's only goal to that point.
Toronto did have some high-quality chances against Stars netminder Anton Khudobin - a shot by centre John Tavares rang off the post early in the first period, and Marner was dangerous at both ends of the ice all night - but the Leafs again began the third in a hole, trying to climb out. That's a pattern head coach Mike Babcock wants changed in the games to come, regardless of whether they're on the road or at Scotiabank Arena.
BUDS GET GOAL FROM MARLEAU IN THIRD, BUT GIVE UP SECOND GOAL, LOSE SECOND IN A ROW
The Leafs looked bound and determined to get even with the Stars in the third frame - and they outshot Dallas 15-3 in the final regulation period, and 31-18 overall Thursday. But Stars forward Devin Shore's goal at the 4:43 mark of the third gave the visitors an insurance goal, and that was necessary after Toronto forward Patrick Marleau scored his second goal of the season on the Leafs' fifth power play of the night:
Video: DAL@TOR: Marleau cleans up rebound on the power play
Toronto worked furiously in the final minutes of the game, but they couldn't come up with the game-tying marker and lost their second in a row. Their next game comes in Pittsburgh Saturday night, and given that the Penguins shut them out 3-0 on Oct. 18 at Scotiabank Arena, the Leafs are going to have to put their collective nose to the grindstone and push their way out of these offensive struggles.