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game recap

Maple Leafs pull away from Kings on Matthews, Nylander goals in third

Score 30 seconds apart for Toronto, which gets second straight win, third in five games

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

Matthews cleans up the rebound

LAK@TOR: Matthews finds puck, nets go-ahead tally

Auston Matthews skates to the front of the net, picks up the loose puck and tallies the go-ahead goal in the 3rd period

  • 01:04 •

TORONTO -- Auston Matthews and William Nylander each had a goal and an assist in the third period for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

Matthews gave Toronto a 2-1 lead at 12:36 when he put in a loose puck in the slot. Mitchell Marner played it toward the slot while falling along the goal line, and it went off Nylander's skate to Matthews.

"I think we just stayed patient throughout the whole game," Matthews said. "There wasn't much going on in the first two periods. We tried to stay patient and play as little in our zone as we could. It was a tight game, but we were able to get a couple of big goals in the third."


[WATCH: All Kings vs. Maple Leafs highlights]


Nylander scored 30 seconds later off a pass from Matthews on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-1 at 13:06. The assist was Matthews' 100th in the NHL.

"I was just looking to dish it back to Auston, and then I saw their defenseman stayed with him and that [goalie Jonathan] Quick was kind of set," Nylander said. "I was able to pull it to the middle, and [Quick] just kind of opened up."

Alexander Kerfoot scored, and Frederik Andersen made 24 saves for the Maple Leafs (8-5-3), who have won two straight and are 3-1-1 in their past five games.

"Some people thought that was ugly, I thought it was beautiful," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We need to go through that and figure out who we are, and the harder the game is, the better it is. Would you like to win by a touchdown and everyone relaxes? Sure, but we're not getting anywhere like that. This was important, give up one goal, play well without the puck, we had to grind. It was good for us."

Video: LAK@TOR: Nylander finishes 2-on-1 break with backhand

Alex Iafallo scored, and Quick made 20 saves for the Kings (5-10-0), who have lost five of six.

"It comes down to wins and losses," Quick said. "We lost, that's it, move on. We have to try to get a win [against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday]. There's always is (stuff to build on), there's always stuff we have to correct."

Iafallo gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 5:40 of the second period. He scored from the right side of the net after Anze Kopitar's shot from the left face-off circle caromed off the end boards.

Kerfoot tied the game 1-1 at 13:29 with an unassisted goal. He intercepted a pass from Sean Walker just outside the Los Angeles blue line, skated to the slot, and shot past Quick's glove.

"It's certainly not ideal," Kopitar said of the Kings' record. "It's frustrating, yeah, but it is what it is. I think the scores are closer than what it shows in the standings. But we have to put 60-minute efforts together, not 49 or 50 because the other 10 usually hurt us, and it was no different tonight. We're not playing awful, but we're not playing to the level we need to play at to win games."

Video: LAK@TOR: Kerfoot roofs wrist shot after turnover


They said it

"Not for the veterans, it's everyone. You want to win, everyone wants to win. It's [ridiculous] you guys saying veterans, young guys. We're a team, we're all together. No one in here likes to lose. The only people who can do something about it is us. We're not looking at the road, we're looking at one game at a time, that's the only way to approach it. I've been lucky to play in this league for a long time. If you're looking at the road (ahead), you're [in trouble]." -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on their 5-10-0 start

"There wasn't much room out there. They play very well structurally, and we just understood that our chances were going to come and that we didn't have to force anything. There were a lot of shifts where we probably felt like we weren't accomplishing a whole lot, but we just stayed with it and caused some turnovers which is kind of what led to our last couple of goals." -- Maple Leafs captain John Tavares


Need to know

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played a game-high 27:56 and had a game-high five shots. ... Defenseman Jake Muzzin faced Los Angeles for the first time since it traded him to Toronto on Jan. 28. He had 213 points (51 goals, 162 assists) in 469 games over eight seasons with the Kings and won the Stanley Cup with them in 2014. ... Tavares returned after missing the previous seven games with a broken finger. He had two shots on goal in 18:00. ... Babcock coached his 1,294th game, tying Jacques Martin for 12th in NHL history.


What's next

Kings: At the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Maple Leafs: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SNO, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Matthews leads Maple Leafs to 3-1 win vs. Kings

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