Two winning streaks on the line in Kings-Maple Leafs
One streak will come to an end Monday night when the Los Angeles Kings, winners of four in a row, visit the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have five straight victories.
Los Angeles will be opening a four-game road trip after completing a 4-1 homestand Friday night with a 3-2 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Toronto will be completing a five-game homestand Monday that includes a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
The Kings’ surge follows a stretch of six losses in a row.
“It’s huge for our confidence,” said goaltender Cal Petersen, who made 21 saves on Friday. “It was hard, the way that we started, to remember what it takes to win, and the feeling of winning.”
Adrian Kempe and Arthur Kaliyev scored in regulation for the Kings and Alex Iafallo extended his point streak to five games with the overtime goal.
“Not a Picasso, but it’s points,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “I think we’d all prefer the simpler win, where it’s not in overtime or anything like that, but we don’t always get what we want.”
The Kings needed a shootout to defeat the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.
“To deal with adversity has been a good thing for our team during the streak, finding ways to win,” McLellan said. “It would be easy to get down. We find ways to stick with it, so there’s a lot of good things that are evolving. It’s just a matter of sustaining them now.”
“We’ve put ourselves in some hairy situations, but we’ve come out of it and got a win,” Petersen said. “I think that’s huge, learning from these situations.”
In their victory over the Bruins, the Maple Leafs had production from their top players. John Tavares had two goals and an assist, Auston Matthews had two power-play goals, Mitchell Marner had an empty-net goal and three assists and Morgan Rielly had two assists.
“We need those guys to produce and they have been here now. It’s no coincidence that we’ve started to roll as a team since that has happened,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I really thought it was a great team effort tonight all the way through the lineup.”
An important element on Saturday was goaltender Jack Campbell’s 42 saves.
The Maple Leafs have extended their streak by defeating two difficult opponents. Before defeating Boston, they came back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in overtime on Thursday.
“This whole week has been a challenge and I think we answered it well,” Matthews said. “A couple weeks ago, obviously, we weren’t as a team and for us individually playing at a level we were happy with, and I think it’s kind of come full circle. Pucks are starting to go in, and we’re playing much more consistent throughout our lineup and everyone’s producing, so I think that’s all positive.”
Defenseman Justin Holl was scratched for the fourth consecutive game on Saturday.
“We didn’t intend on him sitting this long, frankly, but (that’s) just the way that it’s gone,” Keefe said. “The others have played well. The team has played well and had success.”
Toronto put goaltender Petr Mrazek (groin) on long-term injured reserve Sunday. He is expected to miss four weeks. Joseph Woll backed up Campbell on Saturday although Michael Hutchinson could take over that role.
–Field Level Media