Maple Leafs hang on, end Kings win streak

Maple Leafs hang on, end Kings win streak

Mitch Marner needed a big win. Being protective of the young Leafs talent.

In the end it was the high-octane offence of the Toronto Maple Leafs who would have their way against the Los Angeles Kings, muscling their way to a hair-raising 3-2 victory at Air Canada Centre Monday night.

"I think I just calmed down, realized I was throwing away the puck", Marner said.

"We got back to the way we want to play, I think", said Marner. He could have played the woe-is-me game. "I think that's what we have to be happy with that, we scored the goals but Freddie [Andersen] played big for us again and we tried to play big for him outside of that".

The Kings set the tone or this one early when L.A. forward Nic Dowd annihilated Dominic Moore of the Leafs with a molar-loosening bodycheck in the neutral zone.

The Kings held a 29-24 shot advantage through 40 minutes. Or maybe it was just dumb puck luck. But you have to earn your right to be a star and you have to be what you're capable of. He expects himself to be real good.

Stevens said a mandatory evaluation stipulates that the player go to the dressing room and undergo an evaluation by a doctor.

"He's a superstar-calibre player", Martin said.

Marleau said he was confident Marner would pull through this mini-struggle, and be the better for it. Jonathan Quick stopped 31 shots.

"Mitch had the best jump of anybody in the first period", Babcock praised.

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Following the game, Kings management wanted more of an explanation as well. "It came unexpected to me", Marner said. That is only about 20 seconds more per game than he was averaging in his rookie season. "He made some great plays out there to get me the puck and it went our way".

Toronto's homestand continues against Carolina on Thursday and it will be interesting to see if Babcock changes lines at practice or keeps milking Martin and Marner.

He also got the chance to promote one of his successors.

"I thought (Marner) was really good. I thought he was excellent tonight, I thought that line was good, I thought Matt Martin was a good player for us".

Just 22 seconds after goaltender interference erased a possible Toronto marker, the Maple Leafs took a 3-1 lead on Marleau's fourth goal at 2:54 of the third period. It's not something you can ever let in your head. "I don't look at the goals so much as just the kind of goals I give up", Andersen said. Toronto D Connor Carrick, C Eric Fehr and LW Josh Leivo were not in uniform. "We had some good chances and I think we played well". They broke out too easy in the first, we weren't on them enough.

Just two games removed from the 1,500th of his career, Patrick Marleau reached another seminal moment on Monday. He seemed to have won the job in camp but was usurped because Babcock favors veterans and the optics of signing and then cutting Moore aren't great. "As we were getting Darcy (Kuemper) ready to go into the net, (the league) said they reviewed it a second time and that he doesn't have to come out".

Toronto (7-2-0) also handed the Kings (6-1-1) their first regulation defeat. When Lewis scored shorthanded and the Leafs were briefly back on their heels trying to prevent a comeback, their lack of execution with the extra man suddenly loomed large.

Marner had a chance to be a hero Saturday night against Ottawa. But Kempe quickly responded for Los Angeles, beating Andersen with a wrist shot. Kuemper made one save. He talked - but more than that, he listened. On the other side, Quick was so frustrated by the end of the third period he shoved his blocker into Leo Komarov's face.

Andersen kept the lead intact about 11 minutes into the second period with a foot save on a deflection by Los Angeles' Tanner Pearson.