LOS ANGELES – The Kings did a stand-up job in containing Toronto in their 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs Thursday night at STAPLES Center.
Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn made their debuts in Kings uniform the day after they were acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Flyers. Lecavalier saw 9:26 minutes of ice time, Schenn 15:59.
The game, although scoreless through two periods, featured physical banter between the two clubs – Roman Polak issued a game misconduct for a hit on Tyler Toffoli in the first period, Milan Lucic with a gigantic leveling of Nazem Kadri, and Drew Doughty with a loud roughing infraction on Leo Komarov.
Jake Muzzin scored the first goal of the game, his fifth of the season, three minutes into the third, beating James Reimer high to the glove side to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Vincent Lecavalier, working the puck low along the left sideboards in Toronto’s zone, chipped a pass up to Muzzin who was sitting open at the point. Muzzin, with space, took a few strides in and fired a wrist shot past Reimer. Michael Mersch provided crucial traffic on Muzzin’s marker, Toronto initially challenging the Kings’ goal for goaltender interference.
Lecavalier, with his assist on Muzzin’s goal, recorded his first point in a Kings uniform. Muzzin now has a point in each of the Kings’ last three games.
Less than five minutes after Muzzin opened the scoring, Jeff Carter, in his first game back after sitting out five-plus contests with an upper-body injury, struck to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.
Carter’s goal was his 99th in a Kings uniform.
After entering Toronto’s zone, Tanner Pearson nixed a Maple Leafs clearing opportunity and kicked the puck to Marian Gaborik low in the left corner. Gaborik, walking in, fed Carter a back-door pass which he shoveled past Reimer for his 12th goal of the season.
Marian Gaborik, with his assist on Carter’s goal, now has four points in the last four games.
Peter Hollan struck on a Maple Leafs power play to bring Toronto to within a goal with 9:55 to play in regulation.
Jonathan Quick shut the door on a few late Toronto scoring opportunities to record his sixth-straight win. He has a 1.33 GAA and a .955 SV% during his current win streak.
Six different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Jake Muzzin in shots taken (6), Milan Lucic in hits delivered (7), Alec Martinez in shots blocked (5), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (26:42). Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in the win.
The Kings will continue their four-game home stand Saturday night when they take on the St. Louis Blues at STAPLES Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 7:30 PM PST.