ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Toronto Maple Leafs don't come to Southern California often, but they certainly look right at home at the Honda Center.
Tyler Bozak scored twice and Joffrey Lupul had two assists in his return to Anaheim as Toronto neatly ended a four-game road trip with a 5-2 victory against the Ducks on Sunday night.
The Maple Leafs finished the trip 3-1. They have won four of their past five games to jump back into the Northeast Division lead and can enjoy their extra night's stay in Orange County, where Lupul maintains a residence in nearby Newport Beach.
"I'm on my way there right now," he said.
Lupul was satisfied because, "Obviously it's a big trip for us, and it's nice to have three big wins. We were pretty solid tonight. It's been a lot of travel, kind of all the way down the south coast swing. We were strong all the way through the third period, so that's a good sign."
It was only Toronto's fourth appearance in Anaheim in the past 13 years. But it was the second time in three years that Toronto has come into Anaheim and extended the Ducks' miseries.
Toronto notably beat the host Ducks to end an eight-game winless streak to start the 2009-10 season.
Sunday's victory extended Anaheim's winless streak to seven games (0-6-1). The Ducks fell to 2-12-4 over their past 18 games, and those two victories have come over a five-week span.
Lupul, who has voiced his displeasure over his trade from Anaheim to Toronto in February, downplayed his return, but obviously he's familiar with the Ducks and their big line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, who finished a combined minus-6.
"We knew it would be a tough night tonight because we were going to go against Getzlaf, Perry and Bobby all night," Lupul said. "We were prepared to do the job defensively and wait for our chances and we got them and made them count."
Bozak scored on a putback off a pretty rush just 47 seconds into the third. Perry got Anaheim to 4-2 when he walked out from the corner and roofed a shot over Jonas Gustavsson at 5:38 but the Ducks rallied short.
Toronto improved to 9-0 when leading after the third period thanks to a late third penalty kill. It also fended off a 6-on-5 advantage in the final 90 seconds.
"Special teams got the job done," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "And I thought we skated really well.
"We're pretty comfortable. We know what we have to do going into the third period. We're getting better at it."
Toronto struck quickly in the first with goals by Bozak and Clarke MacArthur in a 19-second span for a 2-1 lead.
MacArthur beat Jonas Hiller on a slap shot from the left side that appeared to be deflected by Luca Sbisa at 14:29. Tim Connolly made the play possible when he took the puck from Toni Lydman near the blue line to create the turnover.
Bozak tapped in a nice backhand pass in the crease by John-Michael Liles for a power play goal at 14:10, the seventh straight game Toronto has scored with the advantage.
"It was big," Lupul said of his team's response to the 1-0 deficit. "After playing here and playing against Getzlaf and Perry and those guys, I know when they start to get some confidence at the start of the game and get rolling, they're going to be a tough line to contain. They scored and then we came right back on the power play and scored. That kind of settled things down a little bit."
Toronto held Anaheim to seven shots in the second period and was rewarded with a 3-1 lead thanks to an opportunistic play.
The Maple Leafs picked off Cam Fowler's pass in the neutral zone and hemmed in Anaheim for a long sequence that ended with Joey Crabb deflecting Luke Schenn's shot at 2:36.
Anaheim played with the puck for much of the last five minutes of the second but couldn't generate many quality chances.
It was the same story for the Ducks, who are one loss away from equaling the franchise record eight-game losing streak last set in 2005.
The frustration was worn on the face of coach Randy Carlyle after he watched his team continue to have issues in its own end.
"We just seem to be dead between the ears," Carlyle said. "We're not thinking. We're not reading. Then it seems we pile on extra work for ourselves from our lack of execution by making a pass to a guy who is covered or an ill-advised pass where the opposition has a player in a position to block the pass that we make. It turns into defensive zone coverage for 35-40 seconds. It's mind boggling some of the plays we're trying to make."