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Maple Leafs rally, end Kings' winning streak

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The Toronto Maple Leafs nearly ran out of healthy goaltenders late in the second period. But by the time the final horn sounded Thursday night, it was Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings who were shaking their heads in disbelief.

James Reimer stopped all 31 shots he faced after he replaced injured Jonathan Bernier to start the second period and Mason Raymond scored a game-winning shorthanded goal to lead Toronto past Los Angeles 3-2 and snap the Kings' eight-game winning streak.

The Maple Leafs (36-24-8) finished the California portion of their five-game trip 2-1-0 and erased a two-goal deficit against one of the best closing teams in the NHL. They are three points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for second place in the Atlantic Division.

"For us, we need every point that we can possible get, and we're in desperation mode," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "We just found a way to gut it out."

The Kings (38-23-6) were attempting to equal a franchise record with their ninth straight win and give coach Darryl Sutter his 500th career victory. L.A. is third in the Pacific Division but fell 11 points behind the second-place San Jose Sharks, who beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in a shootout.

Reimer was clipped by Jarret Stoll's skate and stayed down on the ice face first with about five minutes left in the second period. Bernier was on the bench with a lower-body injury, Carlyle said, after he made eight saves on 10 shots in the first period in his first game in Los Angeles since he was traded from the Kings to the Maple Leafs last summer.

Carlyle didn't know the extent of Bernier's injury but said he was sore before the game. Who would have gone in goal if Reimer couldn't continue?

"Somebody would have to go," Carlyle said. "I know it wasn't going to be me. We talked about [assistant coaches and former NHL goaltenders] Scott Gordon and Rick St. Croix and they said 'No.' It would be somebody, but I don't know who it would be. I asked [forward] Colton Orr if he ever played goal and he said 'No.'"

Carlyle said he didn't think Reimer got hit in the head and didn't warrant concussion protocol, but Reimer said he had a slight headache.

"I'm not quite sure," Reimer said when asked if he knew what happened. "I just know he kind of chipped it into space. I thought I had an opportunity at it. It probably wasn't a very good choice. I went for it. I tried to shoot it away and he kind of dove for it and I think his knee or skate just hit me in the head and just kind of rang my bell. That's all."

Reimer and Bernier combined to torment Kopitar with three point-blank saves. Bernier made a right kick save in the first period and Reimer made pad saves in the second and third. Immediately after Reimer thwarted Kopitar a third time, Toronto got a 2-on-1 the other way and Raymond ripped a slap shot from the right wing past Jonathan Quick at 5:06 of the final period, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Kopitar stopped and didn't get back right away to backcheck on Raymond's goal. Kopitar said he lost track of the puck but Sutter said "I think everybody knew where the puck went."

"I missed an open net or he made a toe save on me and then I fired it over the net and nobody knew where the puck was and they came down on a 2-on-1 and scored," Kopitar said. "That was the one that gave up the lead. Obviously, I want to score. They made nice saves and it shouldn't happen. I was 0 for 3, should have least get one and possibly two."

It wasn't a good night for Kings captain Dustin Brown either. Brown played four shifts in the third period -- and Sutter said he wasn't hurt.

"No, he got benched," Sutter said. "The line was tired, so we didn't play them much."

It was the first time in six games the Kings allowed more than two goals. Quick was attempting to tie Rogie Vachon's franchise record of 171 wins.

He was visibly upset with himself after Toronto tied it 2-2 on a slap shot from the left point by Gunnarsson at 3:46 of the second period. Quick wasn't screened, but Gunnarsson's shot might have deflected off Kopitar's stick before it beat Quick to the glove side. The goal was Gunnarsson's second of the season.

Toronto took advantage of a hooking penalty by Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin on Phil Kessel late in the first period to get within 2-1 before the first intermission. Nazem Kadri got the puck out of a scrum at the wall and set up Dion Phaneuf for a backhand past Quick at 18:13. The assist was Kadri's career-high 45th point.

L.A. looked sharp in killing two previous penalties and took a 2-0 lead on goals by new top-line linemates Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. Kopitar one-timed Drew Doughty's pass out of the corner for his 21st goal at 16:05.

Gaborik went to the net and had Doughty's rebound go in off his skate 1:57 of the game for his first goal as a King. Toronto was slow to get back on defense, and a brief 2-on-1 facilitated in Gaborik's first goal since Feb.27.

Kopitar's goal put the Kings on a 6-for-22 power-play tear, but they did not convert the ensuing three power plays.

"The power play wasn't good enough," Sutter said. "It cost us the game."

Toronto center Peter Holland was scratched with the flu. Defenseman Cody Franson returned to the lineup after missing the Maple Leafs' game against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday with the same illness.

It was Toronto's first game at Staples Center since Jan. 10, 2011.

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