The Los Angeles Kings will be going for their fourth consecutive road win Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Kings are undefeated on the road this season but are 1-2-2 at home after losing 4-3 in a shootout to the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.
“They are the measuring stick, obviously, they’ve earned that right,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “We were able to play a pretty good game, we were right there with them.”
The game in Toronto is the opener of a four-game trip.
The Maple Leafs are returning from a 3-1-1 trip that ended Saturday with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators.
An encouraging aspect of the game was the play of goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who made 21 saves. Samsonov has struggled to start the season and Joseph Woll has emerged as the possible No. 1 goaltender. Woll is scheduled to start on Tuesday.
“(Samsonov) looked solid,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “There were a few good chances where he looked like the Sammy of last season. He did his job, we just didn’t score enough for him (on 35 shots against Juuse Saros).”
Samsonov said it was “a step forward for me, a little bit better movement. I saw the puck really well.”
The Predators scored two power-play goals Saturday as penalty killing continues to be an area that needs improvement for the Maple Leafs.
“It’s a work in progress,” Keefe said.
The Maple Leafs were reduced to five defensemen during the game Saturday for the second time in a row.
Jake McCabe (groin) got hurt on Thursday and was replaced by William Lagesson on Saturday. Timothy Liljegren (upper body) left during the game on Saturday.
“At the end of the long trip, that fatigue is going to become a factor, and then when you lose another defenseman, that’s enhanced even more,” Keefe said.
As a result, defenseman Morgan Rielly had 27:48 of ice time on Saturday.
“It’s a challenge in one way for sure,” Keefe said. “You’ve got to manage guys’ minutes; you’re constantly having to change the pairs up. Yet it also becomes somewhat easy because it’s just kind of next man up. … Don’t overthink it.”
Liljegren participated in practice Monday.
The Kings have had three goals in the past two games from defenseman Drew Doughty.
With 63 seconds to play in regulation time on Saturday, Doughty’s blast from the left point sent the game to overtime. On Friday, he scored a power-play goal as well as the game-winner in the final two minutes of the 5-4 comeback win over the Arizona Coyotes.
Doughty, a 16-year veteran, has been using a slap shot to good effect.
“I think he’s figured out some things,” center Phillip Danault said. “You can see the fire in his eyes. He’s back. We need him, big-time, like this. He’s been scoring some big goals and getting some huge points like this. Every game counts, and he’s been present every game.”
Alex Laferriere and Trevor Lewis also scored for the Kings on Saturday, while Cam Talbot, who earned a win in relief Friday, stopped 27 shots Saturday.