TORONTO (AP) — Four games, four wins, two shutouts and three goals allowed. Martin Jones is off to quite a start in the NHL.
The 23-year-old rookie stopped 38 shots, Jeff Carter scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Jones has now beaten two Original Six teams in Montreal and Toronto in addition to wins over the Islanders and Ducks.
"I try not to think about that too much," he said when asked about his impressive run. "I just make sure I'm ready when I am called upon, just try to give these guys a chance to win. We've got a great team here. It's not like I'm getting called upon to steal games here."
But Jones, who made 18 saves in the third, flashed a big grin when asked if he was having fun.
"Yeah, I'm trying to enjoy it as well," he said.
Jones has a .974 save percentage and a 0.74 goals-against average. He has stopped 111 of 114 shots.
Carter beat former teammate Jonathan Bernier with a wrist shot between the legs on a 2-on-1 break at 9:40 for his eighth of the season. Maple Leafs defenseman Paul Ranger failed to keep the puck in the Los Angeles end, creating the odd-man rush.
"Bad decision," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "In a 1-1 hockey game with 10 minutes left, it's an ill-advised pinch."
Kyle Clifford added an insurance goal with 1:59 remaining and Drew Doughty also scored for Los Angeles before 19,375 at the Air Canada Centre. Following a 6-0 victory Tuesday night in Montreal, the Kings improved to 12-1-4 in their last 17 games.
Cody Franson scored his first of the season for Toronto in the second period.
"By far it was our best effort in the last couple of months," Carlyle said. "But no reward for it. And we have to use it as a starting point."
The Maple Leafs were without captain and top defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who was serving the first half of a two-game suspension for a hit on Boston's Kevan Miller last weekend. But forward Joffrey Lupul returned after a seven-game absence due to a groin tear.
The Maple Leafs showed more jump than a Los Angeles team that was playing for the second night in a row. Toronto outshot the Kings 39-23, but was unable to convert most of its chances.
"It's like pushing that snowball," sighed Carlyle. "It seems every time you lose, it gets bigger."