Jake Muzzin and Jeff Carter scored third-period goals and Vincent Lecavalier had an assist while making his Kings debut in Los Angeles’ 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
Lecavalier set up Muzzin for the game’s first goal with 17 minutes and 7 seconds to play, capping a solid effort in the 17-year NHL veteran’s first game since Nov. 12.
Los Angeles acquired Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from Philadelphia on Wednesday, and both veterans played solidly against the Maple Leafs a few hours after their cross-country flight.
Peter Holland scored a power-play goal midway through the third period, and James Reimer stopped 39 shots in his first start since Dec. 3 for the Maple Leafs. Toronto’s three-game winning streak ended in the middle stop of its three-game California trip.
Carter also scored in his return from a five-game injury absence for the Kings, who have won six of seven to open a 10-point lead over Arizona atop the Pacific Division.
Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to remain unbeaten since Dec. 22 for Los Angeles despite losing his bid for his third shutout in eight starts. He has won 13 of his last 15 starts, yielding just five goals in the past five.
Reimer missed all but one period of the past five weeks with a persistent groin injury. He had a busy night against the Kings’ shot-heavy offense, but his teammates could not get an even-strength goal past the on-form Quick.
Toronto had several strong chances to tie it, but Schenn ended his debut with an enormous defensive play, poking the puck away from Quick’s net in the final minute.
Lecavalier had been a constant healthy scratch with the Flyers, but the former Richard Trophy winner capably centered the Kings’ fourth line. He had one assist in seven games with Philadelphia this season before entering limbo, which ended with a trade and one more chance to win the Stanley Cup before he retires this summer.
Toronto defenseman Roman Polak got a game misconduct after checking Tyler Toffoli headfirst into the boards late in the first period. Toffoli turned his back shortly before the hit, which left him down on the ice for several moments.
Referee Kelly Sutherland also left the game late in the first period after Muzzin’s shoulder hit him in the head.
Both Sutherland and Toffoli returned for the scoreless second period.
A few minutes after Muzzin put his wrist shot into the top corner, Carter scored his 12th goal on a slick cross-ice pass from Marian Gaborik.
Capitals 4, Islanders 1
In New York City, Alex Ovechkin scored his 497th career goal as the Washington Capitals remained on top of the NHL ladder with a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center.
Ovechkin’s goal with 4:15 left in the first period went down as the game-winner.
Panthers 3, Senators 2
In Ottawa, Ontario, the red-hot Florida Panthers posted their 11th consecutive victory by defeating the Senators 3-2 at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo turned in a superb performance, stopping 30 shots. Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 13 saves.
Flyers 4, Wild 3, OT
In Saint Paul, Minnesota, Philadelphia defenseman Michael Del Zotto scored his second goal of the game at 4:23 in overtime to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota winger Zach Parise scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season, and his fourth in two games, lifting the Wild to a 3-3 tie at 13:36 of the third period to send the game to overtime.
Red Wings 2, Sharks 1
In San Jose, California, Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader scored the tie-breaking goal at 13:08 of the third period, just after San Jose missed two chances, as the Red Wings beat the Sharks 2-1 at the SAP Center.
Abdelkader’s 13th goal of the season came following a blocked shot by Sharks defenseman Justin Braun. Abdelkader’s shot went over the right blocker of San Jose goalie Martin Jones.
Stars 2, Jets 1, SO
In Dallas, Texas, Patrick Sharp scored the clinching goal in the shootout and goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped 32 of 33 shots in a 2-1 Stars victory against the Winnipeg Jets at the American Airlines Center.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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