The Maple Leafs’ stars produced offensively and they received another standout performance in net from Joseph Woll, powering Toronto to a 4-1 win for the second straight game, this time handing a red-hot Dallas team their first regulation loss of the season.

The win marks three straight for the Leafs, who have strung together a pretty impressive road trip thus far, stacking up solid performances that leave only minor quibbles or sources of concern.

The one area for worry concerns the injury situation for Jake McCabe, who left this game early on with a lower-body issue and did not return. Simon Benoit has not seen much game action since arriving in Toronto, leaving perhaps William Lagesson or Mikko Kokkonen to fill the void if McCabe misses time.

Your game in 10:

1.   Seeking a good start on the road, the Leafs dominated possession early and were very content to skate around the perimeter, cycle back to the neutral zone, and hold onto the puck. There were few chances in the early going, but the Leafs also barely allowed Dallas to even touch the puck, let alone generate looks of their own. Any time the Stars did take possession early on, the Leafs did a good job of forcing the issue in the neutral zone to recover pucks. It was a start to hang their hats on in a tough building against a hot team.

2.   As the first period progressed, the Stars got their legs under them and started to generate a little bit of offense. The biggest chance Dallas created in the first came off a Leafs’ turnover in the defensive zone after John Klingberg and Noah Gregor had a bit of an awkward exchange in the corner. Mason Marchment came out with the puck and fired a cross-seem pass to Thomas Harley, who stepped up to create the chance in front. Unfortunately for Harley, Joseph Woll was able to shoot across and get either a blocker or a stick on it to keep the game knotted at 0-0.

3.   A bit of a weird sequence took place in the latter half of the opening frame preceding the game’s opening goal. Roope Hintz had the puck with space along the left boards as he skated through the neutral zone, and Mitch Marner went to try and lift Hintz’s stick but missed, slightly contacting his midsection. Hintz went down, and the officials called a phantom trip. After killing most of the penalty, the Leafs received a bit of a makeup call after Wyatt Johnson lightly stick-checked Noah Gregor, causing the stick to fall out of his hands.

Regardless of the whacky calls, the result was 20 seconds of 4v4, which ended up serving the Leafs better than the ensuing power play. Off the faceoff, William Nylander got in on the forecheck behind the net and thieved the puck away from Miro Heiskanen. #88 then skated behind the net to find some open ice for himself while he took a quick look up to scan the zone. By this time, Heiskanen caught up with him, so Nylander made a move to his backhand as he skated towards the middle of the ice, creating the space to get a pass off while drawing in another defender and freeing up the back door feed to a wide-open Morgan Rielly for the icebreaker.

The Leafs’ most consistently effective forward and defenseman in the first seven games combined to give the team the all-important first goal on the road.

4.   There wasn’t much action the rest of the period on either side, despite the Leafs having over 90 seconds of power-play time following the Rielly goal. In the opening moments of the second frame, though, T.J. Brodie had the puck in the Leafs’ zone and fumbled it under the pressure of Joe Pavelski. Pavelski floated the puck to the middle of the ice for Jason Robertson, who had a step on Mark Giordano, and he tried to use his reach to outstretch Woll on the far post. Once again, Woll was up to the test and made another spectacular save.

The Mason Marchment goal (to come in the next point) probably deserved to qualify as one (and didn’t), but for what it’s worth, Natural Stat Trick credited the Stars with eight high-danger shots on goal at five-on-five in this game, and 10 overall. Woll stopped all 10.

5.  Despite their struggles with penetrating the brick Woll, the Stars finally found a breakthrough after wearing down the Leafs’ defense. A mix of the third and fourth lines and the third pair got trapped against the Stars’ top line for an extended period of time. Of the five skaters on the ice for the Leafs, all of them had been on the ice for at least 1:45.

Desperate for a change, Matthew Knies grabbed possession inside the blue line and threw the puck into the neutral zone. The clearing attempt didn’t make it far enough up ice, though, allowing a quick Stars counterattack against a tired Leafs’ defense on a 3v2. Matt Duchene found Mason Marchment, who put it over the shoulder of Woll to tie the game 1-1.

6.   It was an ugly couple of minutes culminating in a tying goal, but the response was positive from the Maple Leafs, who did a good job of taking the momentum back following the goal against.

William Nylander created another good chance off of a hustle play, stealing it at the Stars’ blue line and darting into the slot for a good chance. #88 has been so smooth with the puck and effective at attacking the slot in the offensive zone with it on his stick in the early going.

A few moments later, Noah Gregor got a chance on a mini-3v2 from the slot as well. They didn’t immediately score to restore the lead, but those back-to-back shifts were key, helping the Leafs recapture the momentum after Dallas controlled play for much of the period up to that point.

7.  The pace started to diminish in the waning moments of the middle frame, but just as it looked like the 1-1 score would hold into the third period, the Leafs tallied a quick strike off of a forecheck by the top line.

On a routine dump-in, the puck took a bit of a hop and ended up between Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. Following a quick tapback from Matthews, Marner fired a quick snapshot, beating Scott Wedgewood over his left shoulder.

8.  Speaking of Marner, Sheldon Keefe mentioned before the game that he was looking for more out of his top line at five-on-five, specifically noting, “Some of the passing, in particular, hasn’t been quite crisp and sharp. Execution hasn’t been happening. We have focused a lot on the left winger and who has been with them, but if we just focus on those two guys, it hasn’t been executing at the level we would expect.”

The issue was again evident at times in this game. The standards are obviously really high for the player, but there were a few instances of poor decision-making or less-than-sharp passing, especially on the man advantage. Even though he scored in this game and had another shot ring off the post, Marner had an expected goals for percentage of just 25.74% in this game at 5v5 (Matthews wasn’t much better at 31.54%). We’ve seen Marner struggle in the early season in the past; usually, he snaps out of it after a couple of goals go in for him.

9.   A couple of minutes into the final frame, the Leafs were awarded a four-minute power play due to a Jani Hakanpaa high-sticking call. The first unit couldn’t accomplish much in the first minute of the man advantage, so they initiated a line change.

Auston Matthews stayed out a couple of extra seconds and found himself open in the slot. Knies fired a hard pass to him that forced Matthews to receive the puck awkwardly on his backhand. Doing his best to recover, Matthews tried to push the puck back to the line, but no one was home. At least, that was how it appeared; Matthew Knies managed to save the puck with an incredible diving effort, shuffling it over to Morgan Rielly.

#44 took the puck at the line and gave the traffic in front an extra second to settle before firing a shot that was deflected home by Tyler Bertuzzi.

Knies seems to have a knack for quickly responding at the other end when he plays a role in a goal against. Who could forget his beautiful goal in the Florida series — his first in the NHL — mere seconds after a costly missed assignment in the defensive zone?

As for Bertuzzi, it was a due reward as his game has been improving night after night as of late. His line with Tavares and Nylander was the only one in the black in possession and expected goal share, and it actually played two more minutes than the Matthews line at five-on-five.

10.   The Leafs mostly crawled into a shell for the rest of the game, but the Stars struggled to penetrate the middle of the ice. After Dallas pulled the goalie, the Leafs were caught icing the puck a few times, but the Stars couldn’t make them pay for it. In the dying seconds, John Tavares fired a long bomb into the empty net to extend his point streak to seven games.

The Leafs walked out of Dallas with another two points. Not a perfect game by any means, but down to five defensemen on the road in a tough building against a high-end team, it was a commendable effort at both ends of the ice. Morgan Rielly, William Nylander, John Tavares, and Joseph Woll continued to be the most consistently impactful Leafs in the early going; Marner and Matthews still have another level or two to find at five-on-five, and yet the Leafs are 5-2-0 anyway. They’ll certainly take it.

Heat Map: 5v5 Shot Attempts

Game Flow: 5v5 Shot Attempts

Game Highlights: Maple Leafs 4 vs. Stars 1