There’s nothing like the sight of a rebuilding Canadian team to energize the Kings and spark their offense.
On Tuesday, they put together their second one-sided victory in four days over a Canadian opponent, a 7-0 romp over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Center led by Jeff Carter’s two-goal effort and another shutout by goalie Peter Budaj.
This was a poised and complete follow-up to their 5-0 victory against the Calgary Flames on Saturday in Los Angeles, also a Budaj shutout performance and their first win in regulation this season. It was the first time in Budaj’s long career that he has had shutouts in consecutive games. This was his 13th career shutout.
The back-to-back shutouts did have some similarities.
“Yes and no,” said Budaj, who faced 19 shots. “Don’t want to take anything away from Toronto, but we came in really really strong and skated really hard, didn’t turn the puck over and didn’t have any odd-man rushes.
“That’s huge. You eliminate the turnovers and odd-man rushes against and it’s going to help your team. I think we played a solid game tonight. Guys did a great job in front of me.”
That was their defensive structure combined with the offensive outburst.
The count is up to 12 goals in two games for the Kings. If you include the overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is 15 goals in three games.
“It’s been nice,” Carter said. “Goals have been hard to come by a little bit here lately. Nice to get a little confidence going and I think we’re getting some chemistry with our lines. They’ve been together for a few games.”
The Kings’ prolonged scoring slump, as turned out, was so last week. They had gone three consecutive games without a goal before beating the Penguins on Thursday. This was their most one-sided victory since beating Boston, 9-2, last season, Feb. 9, on the road.
“For a bit there, it was kind of tough on us,” said Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, who scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season, making it 2-0, at 3:23 of the second period. “The last two games — not taking it for granted — but we’re doing the right things and it’s helping us put pucks in the net.”
Against the Maple Leafs, they used balanced scoring to push their record past .500 (7-6-0). The Kings led 1-0 after one period and used a four-goal push to take a 5-0 lead after two. Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen was pulled at 13:33 of the second period after Carter’s first goal, which made it 4-0.
Carter, who has three goals in two games, didn’t take long to victimize Andersen’s replacement, Jhonas Enroth as he scored his second goal of the game by banking it in off Enroth. Enroth, who appeared in 16 games for the Kings last season, faced 17 shots and gave up three goals.
Also scoring for the Kings were Dustin Brown (second of the season), Tyler Toffoli (third), Kyle Clifford (second) and Dwight King (first). Toffoli also added an assist, as did King.
Carter was also doing the things that don’t appear on the scoresheet, for instance a stellar backchecking effort, in particular, to prevent an odd-man rush.
“It’s the old saying, the good offense starts in the defensive zone,” Budaj said. “You can just tell … the guys really work hard and they backcheck hard and block shots. It’s great to see such a leader as Carts backcheck and to show us that everybody is backchecking.”
Carter has been just as impressed by Budaj’s effort in filling in for the injured Jonathan Quick.
“It’s awesome. He’s battled for a lot of years to get his starts and whatnot,” Carter said. “He came in and he has some big shoes to fill. I don’t know if anybody is going to fill Quickie’s shoes, but he’s done an amazing job for us. He’s such a good guy in the room too, so you feel so happy for him when he plays well and puts up big games.”
Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa