June 19th, 2024

Cam Talbot makes 30 saves, Los Angeles Kings down listless Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on October 31, 2023.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cam Talbot looks on as Toronto Maple Leafs' John Tavares goes after a loose puck during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto, on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – Cam Talbot just wanted a chance.

He got it on the West Coast alongside his old coach – and his new team is enjoying the early returns.

Talbot was solid in making 30 saves behind the relentless Kings as Los Angeles brushed aside the flat-as-a-pancake Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Tuesday.

The veteran goaltender signed a one-year, US$2-million contract in free agency after one injury-plagued season with the Ottawa Senators saw him play just 36 games, but was confident there was still plenty of gas left in his tank.

“I never take a day for granted here,” said the 36-year-old Talbot, after improving to 4-2-1. “At this point in my career, all I wanted to do was get an opportunity to show that I can still play and still battle for starts.

“When I’m healthy, I feel like I’m gonna be at the top of my game like that.”

Phillip Danault, Adrian Kempe, Arthur Kaliyev and Andreas Englund, with his first in the NHL, had the goals for Los Angeles (5-2-2). Quinton Byfield added two assists.

Talbot was reunited with Kings head coach Todd McLellan, who was behind the bench for all four of his seasons with the Edmonton Oilers from 2015-16 through 2018-19.

“Very competitive,” McLellan said of his netminder. “He’s a little longer in the tooth like some of us, but he takes care of himself so well that he can play – and play a lot.

“He’s hungry.”

John Tavares replied for Toronto (5-3-1), which was coming off a season-long 3-1-1 road trip. Joseph Woll stopped 23 shots.

Leafs winger William Nylander picked up an assist to set a franchise record by recording at least one point in a ninth straight game to start a season, breaking a tie with Frank Mahovlich (1961-62), Lanny McDonald (1976-77) and John Anderson (1982-83).

“Every team goes through times during the year where you have a difficult schedule,” Tavares said. “With the type of team that we have, we have to recognize and understand how you have to fight through that.”

The Kings, who entered averaging an NHL-best 4.38 goals per game, opened the scoring at 6:38 of the first period following a dreadful Leafs power play when Englund’s shot went in off the stick of Toronto defenceman Mark Giordano for the journeyman blueliner’s first goal in his 89th career contest.

“Long time since I played my first NHL game,” said the 27-ear-old. “Great to finally get the first goal.”

“After a while, I started thinking, ‘Am I ever gonna score one?'”

Talbot made two good stops on Nylander later in the period after the Swede stepped past a couple of defenders.

“We’re always trying to prove ourselves,” Danault said of Talbot. “No matter how old you are, no matter how many years you have, you’re always try to prove yourself.

“Definitely proving himself right now.”

L.A. doubled its lead at 11:40 when former Leafs winger Trevor Moore found Danault on the doorstep to pot his second to end a forgettable shift for Toronto’s fourth line.

Woll robbed Kaliyev five minutes into the middle period, but the Kings forward wouldn’t be denied on a power play at 9:46 when he settled a bouncing puck and ripped his second.

Kevin Fiala fed Kaliyev to become the third L.A. player in the last 25 years to register an assist streak of at least eight games.

Toronto didn’t have much of anything to offer in response as the second wore on before the Kings toyed with the home side in the dying minutes – prompting a series of boos and Bronx cheers from the crowd.

The Leafs showed some life on a power play when Tavares broke Talbot’s shutout bid with his fifth at 8:25 of the third.

But the Kings put things out of reach at 12:13 when Toronto defenceman John Klingberg turned the puck over on a sequence that ended with Kempe scoring his third.

Talbot now turns his attention to Thursday when the Kings visit his old team in the nation’s capital.

“Being injured three separate times, and out of training camp “¦ it was tough to jell with the new team,” he said of his Senators stint. “But that’s a great group over there. You meet a lot of guys throughout your career that you’re going to be friends with, and that group is no different.

“Look back on it fondly, but obviously I’m here now and looking forward to playing them.”

BYFIELD’S BACK HOME

Byfield was a little distracted at L.A.’s optional morning skate ahead of the big winger’s first game in his hometown.

The 21-year-old from nearby Newmarket, Ont., used to attend games with his dad at Scotiabank Arena.

“I was trying to look where I was sitting before when I was younger,” Byfield, the No. 2 pick at the 2020 draft, said Tuesday morning.

So where did he sit back in the day?

“Everywhere,” replied Byfield, before adding with a grin: “Nose bleeds most of the time.”

RIELLY UNDER THE RADAR

Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly sits fifth on the team with seven points through nine games.

But unlike most players under Toronto’s media microscope, the 29-year-old has yet to be hyped up in 2023-24.

“Both ends of the rink he’s been great,” Giordano said. “Deserves more credit than he’s been given.”

MOORE OFFENCE

Moore leads the Kings in goals with five. The 28-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif., was signed by Toronto in 2016 out of the University of Denver and spent parts of four seasons with the organization before getting traded to L.A. as part of the deal for goaltender Jack Campbell.

“I don’t feel like they gave up on me,” Moore said of the Leafs. “They had a need in net “¦ I have no hard feelings.”

UP NEXT

Leafs: Visit Boston on Thursday.

Kings: Visit Ottawa on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.

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Follow @JClipperton_CP on X.

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