Kings use robust attack along the boards to take early lead. Coming into the game, the Leafs knew what the Kings are all about - they're a big, physical team that fights for the puck ferociously along the boards and grinds their opponents down - and they weren't surprised by what they saw from L.A. in the first period. Unfortunately, they weren't able to counteract the visitors' approach, and the Kings were first on the scoreboard at 13:56 of the opening frame on Dustin Brown's second goal of the year.
Los Angeles continued pressuring Toronto for the remainder of the first period, outshooting the Buds 15-5 in the first 20 minutes and forcing the home side into giving them two man advantages. However, thanks to stellar work from goalie Frederik Andersen and the penalty kill unit, the Leafs were able to head into the first intermission trailing only by a single goal
Kings capitalize on Leafs breakdowns to pad advantage early in second. Although Toronto began the middle period with some sustained puck possession in the Kings' zone, L.A. made it 2-0 at the 3:23 mark when the Leafs had a breakdown in coverage and winger Tanner Pearson fired a shot past Andersen for his fifth goal of the season.
Then, just one minute and 50 seconds after Pearson's goal, centre Tyler Toffoli broke in with the puck without a defender on him and made no mistake, beating Andersen for his third of the year to give the Kings a three-goal advantage. And at the 13:33 mark, centre Jeff Carter made it 4-0, resulting in a change in Leafs goalies, with Jhonas Enroth replacing Andersen.
The Leafs needed to limit L.A.'s chances after a tough first period, and when they didn't, the Kings made them pay.
Penalty kill one of the few bright spots for Buds. The Leafs had the NHL's 10th-best penalty kill prior to their showdown with the Kings, and Toronto continued to execute well with a man in the box, killing off all four L.A man advantages Tuesday.
This was a night where very little went in the Leafs' favour, but they did have positive results on one of their special teams.
Goalie change fails to stop Kings' momentum. The arrival of Enroth wasn't going to be a cure-all for the Buds if the rest of the team couldn't find ways to carve out space and time for itself in front of Kings goalie Peter Budaj, and the second period proved just as challenging for them in those regards: Toronto was outshot 16-5 in the middle frame, and Carter scored his second of the night - a bank shot off Enroth's rear end - with 1:47 left in the second to put the visitors up 5-0. L.A.'s penultimate goal of the evening came with 4:01 remaining in regulation time, when winger Kyle Clifford scored his second of the year and the victor was no longer in doubt, and their final goal came with 46.7 seconds left on Trevor Lewis' third of the season.
All in all, the Leafs gave the Kings far too much room in which to operate, and the veteran L.A. squad showed what they're capable of.
First time Leafs have been held scoreless all season. Despite head coach Mike Babcock mixing up Toronto's lines as the game went on and putting a game-high eight shots on him in the third period (and just 19 on the night), the Leafs were unable to beat Budaj Thursday, marking the first time they've been shut out by an opponent in the regular season. They didn't win many puck battles and couldn't utilize their speed to gain any advantageous position in L.A.'s zone, and the end result was not pretty.
The Leafs will have a chance to get back in the winning ledger when they host Philadelphia at the ACC Friday, and producing better offensive opportunities will be high on their priority list.