LOS ANGELES — John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Pierre Engvall each had a goal and an assist for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday.
“I think we just stayed patient the whole night, played really well within our structure, and when opportunities presented themselves, guys made plays and were able to capitalize,” Matthews said.
The six goals were a season high for Toronto, which split the two-game season series against Los Angeles (1-1-0). The Maple Leafs are 7-1-0 since losing 5-1 to the Kings at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Nov. 8.
Sean Durzi had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut, and Jonathan Quick made 32 saves for the Kings (8-8-3), who are 0-3-2 following a seven-game winning streak.
“Let’s face it, the 20 players that dressed tonight, nobody was helping anybody out, so if you’re a young guy coming in to play your first, it was a tough night,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said.
Toronto scored four goals in the second period, going back in front 2-1 at 3:19 when Engvall charged the net to put in Wayne Simmonds‘ pass.
Jason Spezza credited the offensive production to the detail-oriented practice coach Sheldon Keefe put the Maple Leafs through Tuesday.
“I thought ‘Keefer’s’ done a good job going over some of the habits that he thinks we can improve on to help score goals. He’s usually pretty good at pointing those out, and I thought we got rewarded for it tonight,” Spezza said. “When you get rewarded, then it starts creating a little bit of a belief for the team in what we’ve got to do.”
Tavares tipped William Nylander‘s one-timer from the right point to make it 3-1 at 5:26.
Matthews used a backhand to chip in Tavares’ pass to the far post for a 4-1 lead at 13:16.
Spezza walked the puck down to the right circle before winding up a slap shot to make it 5-1 at 15:36 on the power play.
“It’s been a long time. I can’t remember the last time we’ve blown a game open like that, in terms of the goals going in, having a second period like that,” Keefe said. “It’s been a long time, maybe all season, really, so it’s nice to have that for our guys.”
Michael Bunting extended the lead to 6-1 at 3:59 of the third period when his shot hit the post and was accidentally kicked in by Kings center Phillip Danault.
Durzi scored on the power play with a wrist shot from the high slot at 16:07 for the 6-2 final.
Durzi was drafted by the Maple Leafs in the second round (No. 52) of the 2018 NHL Draft and traded to the Kings for defenseman Jake Muzzin on Jan. 28, 2019. He was minus-2 in 15:52 of ice time.
“It was nice,” Durzi said. “Obviously garbage time in the hockey game, but I thought to get it out of the way was good. There’s a lot to clean up, but it was really good.”
Alexander Kerfoot scored off the rush on a backhand from the slot to give Toronto a 1-0 lead at 4:30 of the first period.
Viktor Arvidsson tied it 1-1 at 1:21 of the second period on the power play when Durzi’s shot from the blue line struck his stick and skate before going in. It was Arvidsson’s first point in four games after missing seven games in NHL COVID-19 protocol.
NOTES: Maple Leafs forward David Kampf did not return after being elbowed in the head by Kings forward Rasmus Kupari in the first period. Keefe said Kampf was taken out of the game as a precaution because of the nature of the hit. Kupari was penalized for tripping on the play. … Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou did not play after being placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Wednesday. … Arvidsson was hit by pucks in the groin and collarbone. McLellan said Arvidsson was OK but bruised. … Durzi is the third defenseman in Kings history to score in his NHL debut (John English, one goal, two assists, March 30, 1988; Jean Potvin, one goal, two assists, Dec. 26, 1970). … Simmons and TJ Brodie each had two assists. … The Kings were 2-for-3 on the power play; the Maple Leafs were 1-for-3. … It was the first game Muzzin and Campbell played in Los Angeles since being traded to Toronto. Campbell, who was traded Feb. 6, 2020, backed up Frederik Andersen in a 1-0 shootout loss to the Kings on March 5, 2020. Muzzin did not play in that game because of a fractured hand.