TORONTO, ON – Another city, another pair.
The Kings have been sticking to a “bend, but don’t break” mantra this season, and it showed true tonight in Toronto, as they were able to fend off a feisty, and at times overwhelming Maple Leafs club.
Simple play in the defensive zone, and execution during prime offensive chances drove the Kings to a 3-1 win tonight at the Air Canada Center.
Drew Doughty opened the scoring for the Kings, sending a laser of a snap-shot past Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier with 9:30 remaining in the first period. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter assisted on Doughty’s sixth goal of the season, which came on the Kings’ first power play opportunity of the night.
The Kings have now scored power play goals in two consecutive games after a cold spell that saw them go unsuccessful on 31 straight man-advantage opportunities.
Martin Jones stopped all of Toronto’s 11 shots in the first period. This was the 17th straight game the Kings have kept their opponent scoreless in the first period – which is a new NHL record.
Toronto would find the scoresheet during a 5-on-3 power play situation with 5:30 remaining in the second period, as Phil Kessel utilized time and space to find an open Cody Franson, who beat Martin Jones on the back-door.
This would tie the contest 1-1, and end Martin Jones’ shutout streak at 177:16 minutes of play.
The Kings came out lagging in the third period, looking rather exhausted from back-to-back games. After spending much of the period in their own zone, the Kings took the lead on just their second shot of the period.
Jeff Carter, via a nice chip-pass from Slava Voynov, skated in alone on Jonathan Bernier and beat Toronto’s netminder through the five-hole to give the Kings a 2-1 lead with 10:20 remaining in regulation.
Kyle Clifford would ice the contest with 1:59 remaining, beating Jonathan Bernier to the blocker side after receiving a perfect pass from Tyler Toffoli to give the Kings a late and commanding 3-1 lead.
Martin Jones recorded 38 saves tonight, and has now won his first four NHL starts, all of them coming in consecutive fashion. Jones is now 4-0-0 with a .974 SV% and a 0.74 GAA with two shutouts. He has stopped 111 of the 114 shots he’s faced the past four games.
The Kings, with 46 points to their credit after 32 games this season, is the most they’ve ever had in franchise history after the 32-game mark.
With two more games left on the current road-trip, the Kings are riding a nine-game point streak in visiting confines, going 7-0-2.
The scoring was spread out once again for the Kings, as all three goals came from a different player – Doughty (6), Carter (8), Clifford (3), and seven players overall recorded at least one point.
The Kings, now with a 21-7-4 record good for 46 points, sit at third-place in the Western Conference.
The Kings will travel to Canada’s Capital city, Ottawa, to take on the Senators on Saturday afternoon.