Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe expressed some concern at the start of the club’s California road swing that in spite of recent success, the Leafs have not been able to break through offensively with the same regularity as they did last season.
That issue did not seem to be a problem against the Los Angeles Kings, as a four-goal second period propelled the Leafs to a 6-2 victory at the Crypto.com Center in LA on Wednesday. Alex Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Jason Spezza and Michael Bunting scored for Toronto and Jack Campbell made 30 saves for his 11th win of the season.
“I thought we did some good things in terms of how we want to attack the net and increase our volume a little bit." Keefe said after the game. "I don’t know if it’s just a matter of some of the luck coming back our way. I mean I don’t know if we did anything a whole lot different than we’ve been doing in other games, but it was certainly nice to see it go in.”
The Leafs appeared to be a step ahead of the silver-helmeted Kings in the contest, winning most of the puck battles and getting numerous scoring chances on Jonathan Quick. Kerfoot opened the scoring at 4:30 of the first period on a backhander, but LA took advantage of a rare Auston Matthews penalty and tied the game early in the second on a Viktor Arvidsson power play marker.
Toronto took control in the middle frame, as Engvall reclaimed the lead on a nice setup by Wayne Simmonds and Tavares followed just over two minutes with a deflection of a William Nylander shot. Matthews and Spezza extended the lead before the period was out and Bunting added his fifth of the season in the third, as the Leafs coasted to their 12th win in the last 14 games.
Former Leafs draft pick Sean Durzi made his NHL debut, assisting on Arvidsson’s power play goal and scoring his first NHL goal late in the game.
Toronto played most of the game with 11 forwards, as center David Kampf was injured on a head hit by Kings forward Rasmus Kupari and did not return. Kupari was given a minor penalty but could face supplementary discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
After the game, Keefe had no update on Kampf's status, other than he was kept out of the game for precautionary reasons and that he would be re-evaluated in San Jose on Thursday, where the Leafs will take on the Sharks on Friday.
*******If you are interested in sponsorship or advertising your business in the Greater Toronto / Southern Ontario area on this column, please send a message for more information by clicking on the “Contact” button at the top of the page.*******