TORONTO – Jack Campbell used to wonder about Jonathan Quick’s performance from the end of the bench.
Seeing his former teammate excel in the opposite fold was much less pleasant.
Quick made 33 saves on Monday as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the sluggish Maple Leafs 5-1 to snatch Toronto’s five-game winning streak.
Campbell, who spent parts of two seasons as the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner’s backup before the trade that brought him north of the border, stopped 24 shots but was disappointed with his performance in a game he had circulated in.
“Everyone in the building knows it was not my best,” Campbell said. – It cost us two points.
However, there were plenty of culprits this evening for the Leafs, who were stuck in second gear early on against an opponent who now has a five-game winning streak ahead of him.
“That’s what we’re trying to get out of – this team that does not play well one night and has lots of urgent character and plays a way that is a recipe for winning consistently,” said Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe. “And then the next match comes out and is not the same group.
“Until we get it fixed, we will continue to ride this wave.”
Phillip Danault had two goals and an assist for Los Angeles (6-5-1), while Andreas Athanasiou with a goal and an assist, former Leafs striker Trevor Moore and Adrian Kempe, into an empty net, provided the rest of the Offensive. . Alex Iafallo added two assists.
John Tavares answered for Toronto (7-5-1).
“We just weren’t able to maintain our game,” he said. “They do a really good job in the neutral zone, not giving you a whole lot.”
Campbell rediscovered his game in Los Angeles after the Dallas Stars selected him as the 11th overall at the 2010 NHL draft before being acquired by the Leafs from the Kings in a February 2020 deal where Moore went the other way.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper said there were plenty of emotions taking care of his old team for the first time.
“I love it there, I love the boys, love what they did for me in LA,” he said. “Sex them for having brought me to where I am today.
“Just disappointed that I did not bring more to our team.”
Campbell and Quick shared a moment in the bowels of the Scotiabank Arena after the match.
“He plays with a wealth of confidence,” Campbell said of the 35-year-old. “He’s a legend, an incredible career.
“Incredible teammate for me and for everyone.”
After hitting an early post, the Kings went up 1-0 at 10:52 in the opening period as Moore stepped past Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin – his former teammates with both the Leafs and American Hockey Leagues Toronto Marlies – before firing his first season goal past Campbell.
“They won a lot of puck fights, they won a lot of races,” Toronto winger Mitch Marner said of the first period. “We were not ready to go.”
The home team, who had a streak of slow starts earlier in the schedule, came close at the other end when Quick robbed Wayne Simmonds in front.
Los Angeles had only scored five times in the first period of this season, which came into Monday, but doubled its lead at 14:21 when Athanasiou blew off Leafs blue-liner Jake Muzzin – another former king – and snuck a shot through Campbell to his first.
“He’s part of spotting them the 2-0 lead early,” Keefe said of Toronto’s net memorabilia. “But it is guys alone who come at him. It is a difficult question for a goalkeeper. He has saved us a lot, so we have come to expect that he has the ability to save them.
“But he has five guys playing in front of him.”
Keefe did not experience the same haste that his team showed throughout his winning streak after an ugly four-match slide.
“What I’m confused about is just the beginning … like why can we not get out and assert ourselves and have pace and just let people fly through the neutral zone?” he said. “It does not give the opposition us. We do not get free passes to fly through the neutral zone and enter alone.
“We have to make ourselves worthy of that look. We can not give up that thing.”
Toronto’s powerplay went into play 5 for 10 over the last four games, joining in the second when Moore went out for hooking. Tavares was robbed by Quick early in the men’s advantage, but buried his seventh at 1:51.
The goal was the 99th in blue and white for the Toronto captain, and the 14th in a row scored for the Leafs by Tavares, Marner, William Nylander or Auston Matthews, who hit the post a few minutes later.
The Kings restored their two-goal lead 13:56 as Danault – a surprising free-agent signing after helping Montreal clear last season’s Stanley Cup final – scored his second on a sequence in which the puck flipped in from his skate.
The NHL’s situation room initiated a video review to determine if there was a clear kicking motion, but the call on the ice remained.
In the middle of a stretch of nine out of 11 games at the Scotiabank Arena, the Leafs had a couple of fantastic opportunities to come back within one before the period was out, but Quick robbed Marner and Nylander before Matthews shot right past.
“He made some great saves,” Marner said. “But we were not really enough around the net.
“We did not cause chaos.”
After killing the visitors’ third powerplay early in the final period, Toronto gained its own man advantage, but could not generate much on the stingy Kings.
Quick rejected Nylander on the doorstep with five minutes left before Danault scored with 4:30 left in the regulation, and Kempe got to put things in an empty net.
Campbell said the biggest takeaway from his years with Quick was the competitiveness his mentor brought – something he continues to try to emulate on a nightly basis.
“He’s a warrior in there,” Campbell said. “He taught me a lot … just really looking up to him.
“It was fun playing him, but I will definitely take my ‘A’ game with me next time.”
Notes: Kings continue their four-game Canadian roadtrip Tuesday in Montreal. … The Leafs visit Philadelphia on Wednesday. … Liljegren dressed for a fifth game in a row, while Justin Holl was again a healthy scratch.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 8, 2021.
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