TORONTO -- This time, the Los Angeles Kings showed up fo the third period.
Two nights earlier, they had disappeared in the final 20 minutes of a tied game, getting outshot, 22-1, in a mysterious non-performance that led to a defeat in Game 1 of the Campbell Conference finals.
Last night was different. With the score tied against Toronto after two periods, the Kings came out strong in the third, got the winning goal from Tomas Sandstrom, held the opposition to one shot in the first 14 minutes and hung on for a 3-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 15,720 at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Game 3 of a series tied at one game each is tomorrow at the Los Angeles Forum.
"The one thing we've tried to concentrate on this year is that when we've done something wrong, we've tried to make sure that we never do it again," Kings coach Barry Melrose said after the first Stanley Cup semifinal victory in franchise history. "In between [the second and third] periods, we talked about that. We wanted to play like the L.A. Kings. We're an attacking team. If Toronto can beat us when we're attacking, we've got to give them credit."
The Kings accomplished almost everything they were trying to accomplish last night.
Foremost, after Doug Gilmour put the Leafs ahead 2:25 into the game on a power play, he was virtually silent the rest of the game.
"He's always dangerous," Kings goalie Kelly Hrudey said of Gilmour, who had two goals and two assists in Toronto's 4-1 Game 1 win. "He's a great player. We contained him a little bit better tonight."
Maple Leafs coach Pat Burns said: "We all seemed to sit back and wait for the Doug Gilmour show to happen, and too many guys were just riding the bus."
Meanwhile, Gilmour and his Leafs teammates repeatedly lost their cool, and the Kings received nine power plays as a result. The Kings' biggest failing was that they scored just once with the man advantage.
Gilmour received two roughing penalties in the game, and on one first-period play, he attempted to head-butt the Kings' Marty McSorley, who had leveled him late in Game 1. Gilmour escaped with only a minor penalty (McSorley got one, too), but the Leafs clearly were flustered, and the Kings, by and large, avoided foolish penalties.
"I think our team showed a lot of restraint," Melrose said. "I was very proud of them."
After Gilmour scored 2:25 into the game, the Kings' Mike Donnelly tied the score 31 seconds later, beating goalie Felix Potvin to the glove side from 40 feet.
But just 1:03 after Donnelly's goal, Glenn Anderson put the Leafs back in front, and it appeared the Kings were in for another unpleasant evening. As it turned out, Toronto didn't score again.
"We can play defense," Kings center Wayne Gretzky said. "Our system is not run-and-gun. We'll play what other teams give us. They're a very disciplined hockey club. They play very well defensively. Potvin's a very good goaltender.
"You can't give them opportunities. I just thought we had a good team effort. Out of all the playoff wins we've had, that might have been our best team effort."
Still, the Kings needed the tying goal, and they got it on a power play with seven minutes left in the second period, when, on what Corey Millen said was a designed play, he waited along the left boards, then passed to Tony Granato coming out from behind the net to Potvin's right. Granato slipped the puck between Potvin's pads.
The line of Millen, Donnelly and Granato tortured the Leafs the whole game, producing two goals and two assists. Millen hadn't managed a point since the first round against Calgary, but assisted on Granato's goal.
Los Angeles 1 1 1 -- 3
Toronto .. .2 0 0 -- 2