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Carter, Jones lead Kings to win against Maple Leafs

by Joe Yerdon

TORONTO -- Jeff Carter's goal at 9:40 of the third period and Martin Jones' 37 saves extended the Los Angeles Kings' winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

Jones, a rookie who made his NHL debut Dec. 3, won his fourth start in a row and was coming off back-to-back shutouts against the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.

"I'm starting to get a little more comfortable out there," Jones said. "I don't think today was my most solid game that I've had, some rebounds here and there. I know there's a lot of work to do, not every game is going to go as good as these last few. I've just got to make sure I keep working and keep trying to get better."

The 39 shots he faced were the most he's seen this season.

"In front of the net our guys are doing a great job taking away second opportunities," Jones said. "It's those couple saves we need to get and the guys are doing the rest."

Jones was opposed by Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier, who made 20 saves in his first game against his former team since he was traded by the Kings to the Maple Leafs on June 23.

Carter's eighth goal of the season came on a 2-on-1 rush with Daniel Carcillo against Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Fraser. Carter decided to shoot instead of pass and beat Bernier cleanly through the five-hole. Fraser's defense partner, Paul Ranger, was caught out of position after pinching too deep into the Kings zone.

"Bad decision," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "In a 1-1 hockey game with 10 minutes left, it's an ill-advised pinch."

The Kings are 12-1-4 in their past 17 games; they have not allowed a first-period goal or more than two in any game during that stretch.

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty made it 1-0 on the power play at 10:30 of the first period. Doughty skated into the top of the faceoff circle and sent a wrist shot past Bernier, who was screened on the shot by Kings forward Tyler Toffoli. It was Doughty's sixth goal of the season.

"I was going to make a seam pass to [Carter] and that kind of drew the penalty-killer into the middle more, which gave me a lane," Doughty said. "[Toffoli] was in front with a great screen. That goal was huge for me, so I just threw it up top."

The Maple Leafs tied the game at 14:30 of the second period when Cody Franson scored a power-play goal. The defenseman's first goal of the season came on a 5-on-3 while Doughty and Willie Mitchell were each serving a penalty. The goal snapped Jones' shutout streak at 177:16.

"That goal was all [Kessel]," Franson said. "He froze the goalie. The goalie hadn't even moved when I got the puck."

Kyle Clifford's third goal of the season with 1:59 to play in the third padded the Kings' lead.

"We had big goals," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "The power-play goal, and Jeff Carter scored for us, so it's good to get him doing it again."

Toronto, which entered the game leading the NHL in shots allowed per game, outshot Los Angeles 39-23 Wednesday.

"It's amazing, isn't it?" Carlyle said. "That's the thing about pro sports; there's always something that makes you shake your head. It was by far our best effort in the last couple of months and we get no reward for it. We have to use it as a starting point."

The Maple Leafs were playing their first of two games without captain Dion Phaneuf because of a suspension for boarding against the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Fraser got in the lineup in his place and played 16:10.

Kings forward Colin Fraser left the game at 7:19 of the second period with an injury after being hit into the boards by Maple Leafs forward Frazer McLaren. Fraser needed help off the ice after McLaren finished a check on him in front of the Maple Leafs bench.

"He obviously got his bell rung," Sutter said. "We don't really know much yet."

The Kings continue their four-game road trip against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The Maple Leafs go on the road to play the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.

"Tonight was [the] worst game we've played as a team in a little while and we still pulled off the win," Doughty said. "It just shows no matter what, we're just going to try and get those two points even though we're not satisfied how we're playing."

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