TORONTO - When a lead evaporated in 58 seconds and a goal was taken off the board on a coach's challenge, it looked like it just wasn't the Toronto Maple Leafs' night. Again.
Then Joffrey Lupul scored twice, James Reimer found his groove as the Leafs picked up their first home victory of the season by beating the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday night at Air Canada Centre.
Lupul scoring goals 198 and 199 of his NHL career helped overcome a soft goal Reimer allowed early and what looked like a snowball effect of bad breaks. But this was an overall effort better than the ones coach Mike Babcock's team had shown in recent weeks.
Despite being outshot 44-26 by the Stars (9-3-0), the Leafs carried the play at times and took advantage of chances. The pushback that was non-existent in a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday was there.
On top of that, Reimer, starting in place of banged-up Jonathan Bernier, atoned for giving up a bad goal by making 43 saves to snap the Stars' winning streak at three.
Against a Dallas team on a roll starting its four-game road trip, Toronto (2-7-2) kept leading scorers Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin from inflicting too much damage. Seguin fed Benn for his league-leading 10th goal in the first, but the duo was quiet after that.
Brad Boyes beat Antti Niemi (four goals on 26 shots) in the first period to pick up his first with the Leafs. It was only the second time the Leafs scored first this season, and the goal horn operator seemed so surprised that it didn't sound until well after the celebration had begun.
After Benn froze Morgan Rielly and sneaked a shot through Reimer, Boyes thought he had his second of the night late in the first. But Dallas challenged that the play was offside and linesman David Brisebois ruled that was indeed the case, overturning the goal.
Unlike previous games that were highlighted by letdowns, the Leafs kept up the pressure and it paid off.
Lupul scored 21 seconds into the second period to restore the lead for real, and he added a power-play goal not long after for some insurance. It was just the third power-play goal of the season for the Leafs, who entered the game dead-last in the league in that category.
Reimer frustrated the Stars, especially early in the third period when he denied Patrick Sharp from in close and forced Valeri Nichushkin wide on a penalty shot.
Rielly added another with 12.6 seconds left to put a capper on the Leafs' first win since Oct. 16.
Notes ??? Leafs forward Nick Spaling returned after missing three games with a lower-body injury. ... Ajax, Ont., native Devin Shore was a healthy scratch for the Stars after getting his first call-up to the NHL over the weekend and could make his debut Tuesday at the Boston Bruins. ... Nazem Kadri has registered at least a point in each of his six games against Dallas.
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