LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist, and Adrian Kempe and Viktor Arvidsson had power-play goals in the second half of the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Gabriel Vilardi also scored in the Kings’ second half with three goals and captain Anze Kopitar had two assists. Cal Petersen made 26 saves in an encouraging setback win for Los Angeles, who had lost three of four after a solid start to the season.
“Special teams are always huge and the fact that we could top that is great, especially against this team,” said Kopitar. “I don’t think we gave up too much. We put on four again and played the check game we need to play and the result is there.”
Fiala prevailed in his first season with the Kings with another great offensive play, highlighted early in the third period when he stole the puck from Rasmus Sandin and drove a breakaway to the final goal of the game. The prolific Swiss goalscorer has nine points in 10 games for LA, including three multi-scoring appearances so far.
“Obviously Kevin’s move added a dimension,” said Kings coach Todd McLellan. “I thought that in the position he played tonight he balanced things out a little bit more. He’s been able to work with workers and creative players throughout his career, so he’s done a really good job there.”
Petersen also put in his best performance, having scored 12 goals in his first seven spells this season.
Captain John Tavares scored a power-play goal and Pierre Engvall also scored for the Leafs, who have lost three straight swings on the West Coast.
“We’ve lost a bit of confidence in the last three games,” said Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov, who stopped 25 shots. “We have to get it back. … Difficult to say (why) but when you’ve lost three games in a row your confidence will surely drop. You don’t have a smile anymore.”
Tavares scored his fourth first-half goal of the season on the rebound after William Nylander shot the puck off the back boards. Although Toronto opened the game for only the third time in nine games this season, the Leafs struggled to get the puck out of their zone for much of the Kings’ strong second half.
Los Angeles took the lead with two power play goals. Kempe, playing his 400th NHL game of his career, brought a one-timer into the top corner after a cross-ice pass from Fiala before Arvidsson conceded a setup from Phillip Danault exactly six minutes later.
Vilardi then snuck into the slot and buried a remarkable backhand pass from behind the net by Kopitar, the franchise’s career leading scorer.
“I think for the most part we’re getting the other team’s best version of themselves,” said Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe. “LA faces a serious defeat. They would be defensively selected here after giving up six the night before. They made it difficult for us to get off the wall. I thought we spent too much time on the boards. Still, I thought 5v5 was a pretty even game of hockey. The difference is special teams and you know we gave them some gifts for goals, you know, that they didn’t necessarily give us, so that’s really the difference.
Engvall reduced the deficit to 3-2 late in the second with his first goal of the season from a loose puck in front following a Kings turnover.
Leafs defenseman Filip Král made his NHL debut with 16 appearances, including penalties in Toronto. Král has played 71 games for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL over the past three seasons.
Maple Leafs: Sunday night in Anaheim.
Kings: In St. Louis on Monday night.
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