TORONTO (AP) The Dallas Stars got off to a fast start in each period - and held on at the very end.
Tyler Seguin snapped a 17-game goal drought, Ben Bishop made 27 saves and the Stars beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday night.
''Not the prettiest of games on our end,'' Seguin said. ''But we greased it out.''
Denis Gurianov and Radek Faksa also scored for Dallas (33-19-5), which earned its third straight victory.
Toronto (30-20-8) dropped to 2-3-1 over its last six. Auston Matthews scored his 41st goal for the Maple Leafs, and Zach Hyman got his 17th.
Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 16 shots after missing four games with a neck injury.
''They're very well-structured and don't mind if it's a sleepy type of night,'' Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. ''We tried to stay with it. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get it done.''
Dallas scored 80 seconds into the first, 24 seconds into the second and 81 seconds into the third, using structure and physical play to snuff out Toronto attacks and keep things mostly to the outside.
''You're playing against a team that knows how to make it hard on you defensively,'' Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. ''You can't spot them a lead just because you make it even harder. That's a real tough team to play against when you're chasing a game.''
Dallas opened a 3-1 lead after Tavares was sent off for tripping early in the third. Making his NHL debut with veteran forwards Alexander Radulov and Joe Pavelski sidelined by injuries, Jason Robertson's initial shot popped over to Seguin, who buried his 12th of the season in the arena where he used to watch games as a kid.
A native of nearby Brampton, Ontario, Seguin scored his first goal since Dec. 28 against Colorado.
''Didn't know when it was going to happen,'' Seguin said. ''Figured it was going to be something off my head or off my butt.''
Andersen stopped Gurianov on a breakaway midway through the third, and Bishop robbed William Nylander at the other end.
The Leafs pulled their goalie with three minutes to go and Hyman made it 3-2 on a rebound with 1:19 left. But Bishop and the Stars held on.
''They just play a really structured game,'' Matthews said. ''They don't really give you much.''
After giving up a goal on the game's first shot in an opening period controlled by Dallas, the Leafs fell behind 2-0 on the initial shot of the second when Faksa moved in alone on Andersen and slid his 10th into the net.
Andersen, who was hurt in the first period of a 5-3 loss to Florida on Feb. 3, stepped up on back-to-back Dallas power plays before Toronto got a spark when bruising forward Kyle Clifford - acquired from the Los Angeles Kings last week - dropped the gloves with hulking Dallas defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.
The fight was the fourth of the season for the Leafs, and the fourth overall for Clifford, who took his 6-foot-7, 255-pound opponent to the ice, much to the delight of the Scotiabank Arena crowd.
With winger Andreas Johnsson done for the night after hurting his right knee in the first, Keefe was forced to mix his lines and break up Matthews, Nylander and Mitch Marner - a super trio that accounts for nearly $29.5 million in average annual value on the salary cap, but failed to record a point in four periods of action.
The Clifford-Oleksiak tilt seemed to give Toronto a jolt before Matthews scored at 11:21 on the power play when he wheeled off the boards and snapped a shot past Bishop's blocker.
NOTES: Keefe said Johnsson's injury is ''not short-term.'' ... Stars C Andrew Cogliano, a product of the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, played the 1,000th game of his NHL career. ... Dallas D Roman Polak, who played parts of four seasons in Toronto, suited up for his 800th game.
Stars: At Montreal on Saturday.
Maple Leafs: At Ottawa on Saturday,
Copyright 2020 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.