A bad back stopped Auston Matthews from securing another signature hat trick, but the Toronto Maple Leafs left town with at least one more win.
Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist to lead the Maple Leafs to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, an action-packed rally that ended with Auston Matthews being given a match penalty after being run into the boards.
It was the right call from what was an obviously unsettling situation.
Former Maple Leafs captain John Tavares also scored, and Frederik Andersen stopped 37 shots for the Maple Leafs, who won their second consecutive game after back-to-back losses to start the season-high six-game homestand.
Down 2-0 early, Toronto scored three times in less than 6 minutes in the second period to tie it.
Kempe scored the tying goal midway through the period. After Matthews struck the crossbar with a backhand, Mitch Marner sent the puck into the Kings’ zone from deep in his own end, where Brock McGinn fired a wrister on net.
L.A. goalie Jack Campbell could only deflect it, and the carom went off the near boards toward the crease. Leafs defenseman Roman Polak deflected it into the air toward the crease, and Kempe grabbed it for a power-play goal at 8:37.
The Kings killed off the ensuing three-minute power play, and Kadri’s power-play goal at 12:13 put Toronto ahead for good. Mitch Marner set up the score with a pass from behind the net to Kadri, who one-timed a quick shot over Campbell’s left shoulder.
Kempe completed his two-goal night with an empty-netter with 1:08 remaining.
Gustav Nyquist had the other goal for the Maple Leafs.
Steven Stamkos, Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner each had two assists for Toronto.
Kevin Gravel had the Kings’ lone goal with just more than 4 minutes remaining in the first period.
Campbell made 41 saves for the Kings, who fell to 1-1-1 against Toronto in the regular season.
It was also an action-packed game because of Matthews’ penalty, as the Kings had a 22-2 shot advantage in the second period.
The Kings, meanwhile, have won just once in their last nine games and haven’t won back-to-back games since early March.
The Maple Leafs continue their six-game homestand against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.
NOTES: Auston Matthews has goals in four straight games. … John Tavares has recorded a point in five straight games. … Matthews has seven goals in his last four games.
Kings: Visit Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Arizona on Monday night.