Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 33 @ Toronto
December 19, 2011
4pm PST (7pm EST)
Tomorrow night’s game will very likely be John Stevens’ last game as interim coach of the Los Angeles Kings and the newly-signed Darryl Sutter will be introduced this week and be expected to make his debut on Thursday vs. Anaheim. For tomorrow, though, it’s Stevens’ job to rebound from an 8-2 shellacking Saturday night in Detroit.
The Kings will end their road trip tonight as they pay the Toronto Maple Leafs a visit in their only meeting of the season with the Buds. The last time the Leafs and Kings met was in Los Angeles back on January 10 when Toronto netminder James Reimer was the difference, turning away 30 of 32 shots en route to a 3-2 Leafs victory. The last time the Kings were in Toronto was on January 26, 2010 when Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist and Dustin Brown had three assists en route to a 5-3 Kings win. Oh, how times have changed – but I digress.
Although the Leafs are having a better season this year, they’ve lost their last two and have gone 4-5-1 in their last ten. Yet, with 35 points and holding onto the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, it’s fair to say that they’re in a better position than Los Angeles is right now. Of course, that’s up for debate depending on who you talk to.
Monday night will be a meeting of two struggling teams who need points to remain competitive in their respective conferences. After their debacle on Saturday, expect a bit of a shakeup in the Kings’ lineup. As for Toronto, although they lost on Saturday to Vancouver, it was a hard-fought loss, especially since they had played the previous night.
Look for the Leafs to pull out all the stops against the Kings tonight as they’ve been playing with a lot more urgency than Los Angeles has been. If the Kings can learn from their mistakes made in previous games, look for the road team to escape Air Canada Centre with a pair of points. Operative word: if.
Enjoy the game!
Photo: Courtesy of Chris Young/The Canadian Press