TOR@L.A. L 5-3
Ten days ago the Maple Leafs beat the LA Kings to improve their record to seven wins and two losses. Since then and including the rematch against L.A. on Thursday night at the Staple centre they’ve lost four out of five and look like a totally different team.
It’s a little difficult to score on a guy who had a .942 save% like Jonathan Quick. The Kings goalie played 17 games last year before getting injured and missing the rest of the season. It seems that the rest and time away made him even better and if the season ended right now he would no doubt win the Vezina for best goalie.
The Maple Leafs were completely out worked in the first period sand trailed 3-0 after twenty minutes.
Even though Toronto doubled the Kings up on shots, 14-7 in the middle frame, L.A. expanded on their lead making it 5-0. It must be said that back up Curtis McElhinney played pretty good and should not be faulted for all the goals. Toronto finally scored with 2:10 left in the 2nd period.
Auston Matthews scored a beautiful goal on a penalty shot on which he deked the goalie out before roofing the puck around the fallen net minder. For the Leafs it’s the first penalty shot attempt and goal this season.
Then with three seconds left in the period, Morgan Reilly made it a 5-2 game.
Exactly eight minutes into the 3rd period Connor Brown redirected a point shot to give the Leafs hope.
Things got interesting with 1:19 left in the game when the Kings defender purposely pushed the net off its moorings. In the last 2:00 of the game that’s an automatic penalty shot.
In my decades of watching the MapleLeafs I can’t remember Toronto getting two penalty shots in the same game.
Auston Matthews tried for his 2nd penalty shot of the game to close the gap to a one goal deficit but unfortunately he rifled a wrister that was deflected away and that is how this game ended.
Toronto will now have to win Saturday in St.Louis just to get a split on this road trip. Kasperi Kappanen is looking better each game and is definitely ready for the NHL. The Maple Leafs stayed in the same hotel as the Houston Astros who just won the World Series. It’s not clear if that had any effect on this game. What it will effect is the young Leafs team who will see the joy of the World series champs and that winning feeling is contagious, a good lesson to take forward with them.