One might think it a little strange that Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock used the word “beautiful” to describe their 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday. That is because the Kings are the weakest link at the moment in the Pacific Division with a record of five wins and 10 losses, and one would expect Toronto to beat Los Angeles rather easily.
In fact, with 10 points, the Kings have the third least points in the NHL. The Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings at nine points each are the only teams in the NHL with less points than Los Angeles.
Babcock used the term “beautiful” because he was apparently very pleased with the Maple Leafs work ethic, patience and their ability to limit the Kings scoring chances. Still, even though Toronto won by two goals, they were still outshot 25-23 to one of the worst teams in the entire NHL.
Offensively, the Maple Leafs got two points each from Auston Matthews of San Ramon, CA and William Nylander of Calgary, Alberta. Matthews and Nylander each had one goal and one assist. The other Toronto Maple Leafs goal scorer was Alexander Kerfoot of Vancouver, British Columbia.
There is no doubt that Babcock must have been ecstatic that Toronto only gave up one goal to Los Angeles, but it should be noted that the Maple Leafs have not had a shutout so far in 2019-20. Babcock’s emphasis on defense and puck possession helped him win a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and gold medals for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The Maple Leafs have now won two straight games as they also beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on Saturday night. They are currently in third place in the Atlantic Division with 19 points and are behind the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres.