The Los Angeles Kings have climbed atop the Western Conference standings by adeptly combining their established stars with hungry young talent.
Tyler Toffoli and Michael Amadio showed off the strengths of both categories in another impressive win for the surging Kings.
Toffoli scored twice, Amadio got his first NHL goal and Los Angeles beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Thursday night for its eighth victory in 10 games.
Amadio, Michael Cammalleri and Trevor Lewis scored during a three-goal first period for the Kings, and the veteran Toffoli scored twice in the second. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves as the Kings improved to 10-2-1 and pulled even with St. Louis for first place in the conference.
The Kings looked sharp as they returned from a six-game road trip to begin 2 1/2 weeks spent entirely in Southern California. Under new coach John Stevens, Los Angeles has improved its offensive play with depth and focus exemplified by the balance in its scoring.
That mix led to a 5-0 lead late in the second period over Toronto, one of the East's most potent teams.
"We knew that we had to be good coming off the road trip," said Amadio, who scored in his fourth NHL game. "We knew that they were a good offensive team, and we knew we had to get pucks behind their D and grind them down. I thought we did a good job at that, but we can get better going forward here."
Amadio, a 21-year-old third-round draft pick from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, scored just 2:34 into his fourth NHL game, capitalizing on a Toronto turnover. Tanner Pearson got the puck to him, and he slipped a shot underneath Curtis McElhinney.
"It was a pretty indescribable feeling," Amadio said. "There was a lot of emotions running through my body."
Los Angeles already had its huge lead before Auston Matthews scored on his first career penalty shot in the second period. Morgan Rielly and Connor Brown also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost four of five.
"There's no excuse for our legs not to be there, but we have to start out smarter," said Matthews, whose Leafs won 3-1 in Anaheim on Wednesday. "We finally got going and created some chances, but when it's a back-to-back, it should force us to play smarter and take care of the puck more."
Matthews got a second penalty shot in the final minutes after Los Angeles defenceman Jake Muzzin knocked the net off its moorings, but Matthews missed the net.
McElhinney stopped 23 shots in just the second appearance of the season by Frederik Andersen's backup.
"Besides the start, I didn't mind our game, besides the penalty kill," said Toronto coach Mike Babcock, whose club gave up two power-play goals for the first time since Oct. 7. "The start was problematic. You can't turn the puck over."
Lewis scored with 36 seconds left in the Kings' dominant first period, hitting the net on a tight-angled wrist shot after an exceptional cross-ice pass from Nick Shore.
Toffoli got his sixth goal of the season in the second period during a power play, and added another 2:01 later after Adrian Kempe did the hard work of taking the puck to the net under pressure.
Pearson had three assists for the Kings.