Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 32 @ Toronto
December 11, 2013
4:30pm PST (7:30pm EST)
After their wild Tuesday night date in Montreal, it’s no rest for the Los Angeles Kings as they travel to Toronto hoping to extend their four-game winning streak against the Maple Leafs. Coming off their biggest offensive performance of the season on a night where six different Kings finished with multiple-point games, the Kings certainly hope they can keep the scoring juices, if you will, flowing.
Arguably the most interesting storyline entering Wednesday will be the first meeting of these two teams since their trade this past summer which sent Jonathan Bernier to Toronto will Ben Scrivens and Matt Frattin were shipped to sunny LA. While Frattin has unfortunately been ineffective so far for the Kings, both goaltenders have been anything but.
When the regular season began, it was Bernier who looked to make an immediate name for himself with his new club while Ben Scrivens was expected to be, by most, to simply play the benchwarmer watching Jonathan Quick man the Los Angeles goal. That was just the case until mid-November when Quick went down with a groin injury. Then, Scrivens stepped in and flourished as the interim starter while Bernier saw less and less playing in time in Toronto in favour of James Riemer.
On Wednesday, while it isn’t certain either netminder will get the nod for his respective team, the storyline is nonetheless an interesting one as fans from both sides anticipate a great game.
But even with Scrivens facing his former team and being more rested, don’t count out the possibility of the Kings starting rookie Martin Jones who is coming off back-to-back shutouts. We’ll see.
While the 16-12-3 Leafs aren’t as hot as they were earlier in the season, they still hold a playoff spot with the second wild card spot in the East. While their 6-6-3 record away from home certainly isn’t anything noteworthy, Toronto’s 10-5-0 mark at the Air Canada Centre should give the Kings enough reason to take their opponents seriously – not that they wouldn’t, of course
In addition, the Kings know they are up against a Toronto team whose offense and defense are both in the middle-of-the-pack in the league with an identical average of 2.67 in both categories. With that, the silver-and-black hope to score a little more on Wednesday.
Having played just 24 hours earlier, the Kings are determined not to be taken advantage of. But it won’t be easy as Phil Kessel leads the Leafs with 16 goals and 29 assists while James van Riemsdyk is second in both categories for the blue-and-white with 13 tallies and 25 points. Nazem Kadri is also a threat with 20 points followed by Mason Raymond with 19. But expect the Kings to be prepared despite being tired.
Los Angeles will, however, get to face a squad who is missing their top defenseman. On Tuesday, Dion Phaneuf was handed a two-game suspension for an illegal hit from behind to Kevin Miller of the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
While Los Angeles’s lack of offense is prevalent (outside of their performance one night earlier), so is there solid defense. In addition, the Kings have won their last three games when on the tail end of back-to-back nights.
The Kings are determined to win at the ACC and they have what it takes to shut down the Leafs. Whether they will do such a thing or not remains to be seen. We’ll see what happens.
Enjoy the game!