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Stars rip Leafs behind 2nd-period surge
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Valeri Nichushkin, Shawn Horcoff, Rich Peverley and Trevor Daley lit the lamp during a four-goal second period, as Dallas took down Toronto, 7-1, at American Airlines Center.
Jamie Benn led the way with a goal and three assists for the Stars, who had won just twice in their previous 11 contests. Nichushkin scored twice, with Cody Eakin adding another score in the rout.
"I think tonight we kept building, we kept trying to score, and that's what you got to do to win," said Peverley. "You can't sit back and I think we did a good job of pushing forward and trying to get that next goal."
Kari Lehtonen recorded his 200th career win thanks to 24 saves.
Nikolai Kulemin scored for the Maple Leafs, whose six-game win streak came to a crashing halt after enduring their worst loss on the road to the Stars since the franchise moved to Texas.
"We've got to find a way to pick ourselves back up," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle said. "We can't let this linger with our group."
Jonathan Bernier was lifted after yielding three goals on 13 shots. James Reimer was beaten four times on 15 shots in relief.
Nichushkin provided a two-goal cushion for the hosts at 6:36 of the second and chased Bernier for Reimer. Horcoff's power-play marker less than two minutes later boosted the lead to three and Peverley blew by Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf to net a short-handed strike made it 5-1 at 11:37.
Daley's blast from the right circle during a 4-on-4 situation capped the surge in the middle stanza, giving Dallas a five-goal spread at 15:23.
Nichushkin picked up a Tyler Seguin rebound and scored an easy one from the slot at 2:43 of the third for a 7-1 game and the hosts cruised to the buzzer.
Dallas picked up the opening goal at 7:09 of the first period thanks to Benn. His initial shot from between the circles was blocked, but the puck fell to the ice near the spot of the first shot, and Benn made no mistake on his second try.
Kulemin tipped in a Carl Gunnarsson shot to get the Leafs on the board only 30 seconds later, but the Stars headed to intermission up by one after Eakin bested Bernier with his own rebound atop the crease.
Dallas improved to 12-7-1 at home against Toronto since moving from Minnesota prior to the 1993-94 season and has won three of four over the Leafs in Texas since November of 2007 ... Benn's four points was his most since a six- point performance (1G, 5A) in a 7-3 win at Calgary on Nov. 14 ... The six-goal margin of victory was the largest for the Stars this season, and tied the worst margin of defeat for the Leafs -- who dropped a 6-0 decision to Columbus on Nov. 25.
01/24 00:12:27 ET
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