LOS ANGELES -- A tight, physical defensive game was what the Los Angeles Kings needed to get back on track. A little scoring touch and toughness from Anze Kopitar helped too.
Kopitar scored 37 seconds into the game and goalie Martin Jones made 19 saves to lead the Kings to a 2-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center on Monday.
The Kings (20-13-10) got their first win on a seven-game homestand after a 0-1-2 start in which they allowed 15 goals. It came in their first game without left wing Tanner Pearson and right wing Tyler Toffoli, out indefinitely with a broken fibula and mononucleosis, respectively.
"We did a good job checking all night," Jones said. "The penalty kill was really good for us when we needed it, and the guys did a really good job around the net. Put those things together and we're a tough team to beat."
Kopitar briefly left the game nearly three minutes into the third period when he was struck by shot from Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf, but he barely missed a shift. Jones got his first win since Dec. 4 and third shutout this season. He allowed 10 goals on 36 shots in his past two appearances. Jones became the fastest goalie (29 games) in modern-day NHL history (1967-68) to record seven career shutouts.
Kopitar lifted a shot that hit the camera inside the net and came out. Play resumed but it was reviewed and determined to be his 10th goal. Marian Gaborik scored an empty-net goal with one minute left.
The game was tight and hard-fought; the Kings and Maple Leafs combined for 71 hits.
"Well, that's how we're going to have to play," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We've got some goals out of our lineup, so we're going to have to play that way, for sure."
The Maple Leafs (22-18-3) are 1-2-0 under interim coach Peter Horachek. They began a stretch of nine of 11 games on the road by holding the Kings to 20 shots. Toronto allowed 20 shots to the Columbus Blue Jackets in its previous game, arguably its best consecutive defensive performance this season.
"We can't really play much better on the road," center Nazem Kadri said. "That's a difficult team to up against, and it's a difficult building to go into."
Goalie Jonathan Bernier made 19 saves but is winless in two road appearances against his former team.
"We'll take that loss because I thought we deserved better," Bernier said. "We had some scoring chance[s], especially at the end with our power play. You keep a team like that under 20 shots, most of the time you're going to end up on the good side of the game."
Toronto had six shots through 30 minutes but began its push in the last half of the second period when Phil Kessel couldn't put in Tyler Bozak's feed in the crease. The Maple Leafs got pressure but went scoreless on a late power play in the second and again late in the third.
Horachek liked how the Maple Leafs responded to the Kings start. Toronto needed a bounce that it didn't get in a defensive game.
"It's disappointing we can't capitalize," Horachek said. "Our power play didn't score a goal [when] maybe we needed it to. You've got to take some solace in of the fact that their shots and chances were lower, and we think that we're going to be able to score goals going forward."
Kopitar's goal highlighted a first period dominated by the Kings, who held Toronto to one shot through 15 minutes and three for the period. The Maple Leafs' lone scoring chance came from Kessel on a rush.
The Kings were outscored 8-4 in the first period the previous three games.
Toronto center Leo Komarov left the game in the second period because of an upper-body injury. Komarov went into the end boards and came out clutching his shoulder and arm.
"He thought he could come back, and we just wanted not to lose him, maybe, for the whole trip, so we're hoping that's more of a stinger," Horachek said.
It was the 900th win in Kings history (900-681-261), and the first time they shut out Toronto since Feb.20, 1988.