LOS ANGELES -- Jason LaBarbera started out with practically
nothing to do, facing one shot during the first 11 minutes. He got
plenty of work later on, stopping 18 of 19 shots in the second
period and 24 of 25 in the third.
"I'm not going to lie to you, I'm a little tired right now,"
LaBarbera said with a weary grin. "It was kind of funny how the
game went. In the first period, I was kind of like, 'I don't know
what's going on,' and then they ended up with 50 -- which is kind of
interesting. But it's fun to play in a game like that because it
makes you battle and play that much harder."
The Leafs, who came in averaging 30.8 shots on goal, were left completely bewildered and beside themselves with frustration. Last Saturday at Toronto, they took 56 shots at Philadelphia's Antero Nittymaki and still lost 3-2. Sundin, who scored on two of his
eight shots against the Flyers, came up empty against LaBarbera despite putting a season-high 11 shots on net.
"We're shooting pucks," center Alex Steen said. "That Philly game, I thought we were shooting a lot from the perimeter and weren't getting enough bodies in front of the net. Tonight we did,
but we still couldn't find a way to get it by their goalie."
The Maple Leafs made their first visit to Staples Center since
the NHL instituted a shootout format to decide the outcome of games
that were tied after overtime. The last time they played the Kings
on the road was Nov. 13, 2003, when the teams played to a 4-4 draw.
Nik Antropov and Darcy Tucker scored for the Leafs, who have
been outscored 19-6 during their four-game losing streak. They have
been held to fewer than three goals 10 time in their last 12 games,
and are 2-8-2 during that stretch.
"It's a frustrating time, but we can't get too down on
ourselves or irritated or frustrated," Steen said. "We need to
keep our heads up and our spirits up and make sure we turn this
around. We've still got half a season to go here."
Alexander Frolov and Rob Blake each had a goal and an assist and Kyle Calder also scored for the Kings, who had lost 11 of their previous 14 games and were coming off a 7-0 defeat to Nashville -- their worst home loss since March 21, 2001.
"Obviously, we were pretty embarrassed by the loss the other
night, but we swept that aside and got ready for tonight,"
LaBarbera said. "We knew we had to come out with a good start, and
Los Angeles cashed in on both power-play opportunities in the first period, building a 4-0 lead just before intermission at the
expense of goalie Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft faced the Kings for the
first time since Jan. 12, 2006, when they beat him 6-0 at Boston
with a hat trick by Frolov that included a penalty shot.
Calder opened the scoring at the 2:44 mark, less than a minute
after teammate Jaroslav Modry hit the right post with a screened
wrist shot from the left point.
Brown increased the margin to 2-0 at 13:52 on a rebound after
Tomas Kaberle was sent off for holding Brown. The Kings scored
again when Frolov shook off a check from Hal Gill behind the net,
carried the puck out in front and did a complete spin before
beating Raycroft between the pads with a 15-foot wrist shot at
17:22 of the period.
Brown, who leads Los Angeles with 22 goals, made it 4-0 on another rebound with just 54 seconds left in the first while Andy Wozniewski was serving a delay-of-game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass.
"A lot of my goals are just like the ones tonight -- being in front of the net," Brown said. "It's a matter of paying the price
and being in the dirty areas to get the dirty goals. Experience and
confidence helps. I mean, you can almost read where the puck is
going to be."
Toronto coach Paul Maurice didn't want goalie Vesa Toskala to
play on back-to-back nights after losing 5-0 at Anaheim in his
first game back from a groin injury, but had no choice to use him
because of Raycroft's poor outing. Blake made it 5-0, beating
Toskala high to the glove side with a 25-foot slap shot from the
right circle at 6:41 of the second period.
Notes: This is the first season since 2003-04 that all six
Canadian teams will play at Staples Center. "O Canada" had been
played or performed before Kings home games 22 times since the
Maple Leafs' last visit. ... Seven of the previous eight meetings
between the teams have been at Toronto. The Maple Leafs haven't won
at game at Los Angeles since Mar 12, 1998 at the Forum. ... Anze Kopitar, whose assist on Brown's first goal was his 23rd point in 25 games, was selected Thursday as a reserve for the Western
Conference All-Star team. Kopitar is the sixth center in the Kings'
40-year-year history to make the All-Star team, and the first since
Wayne Gretzky in 1996. The others were Eddie Joyal, Butch Goring,
Marcel Dionne and Bernie Nicholls. Goring was picked as a
replacement for injured LW Charlie Simmer in 1980.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: STAPLES Center Location: Los Angeles, California
Referees: Chris Rooney, Rob Shick Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Derek Amell
Attendance: 18,118 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Kyle Calder (6)
Assists: Michal Handzus, Brian Willsie
Dustin Brown (21)
(Power Play) Assists: Patrick O'Sullivan, Anze Kopitar
Alexander Frolov (8)
Assists: Ladislav Nagy, Derek Armstrong
Dustin Brown (22)
(Power Play) Assists: Lubomir Visnovsky, Rob Blake
Rob Blake (4)
Assist: Alexander Frolov
Nik Antropov (16)
(Power Play) Assists: Ian White, Anton Stralman
Darcy Tucker (5)
Assists: Kyle Wellwood, Andy Wozniewski