Preview: Toronto at Los Angeles
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 7, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings could have a few new faces in the lineup Thursday when they begin a four-game homestand against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Los Angeles acquired veteran center Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Luke Schenn from Philadelphia on Wednesday, adding depth up the middle and at the back end of the blue-line corps.
The Kings, who own a 10-point lead over Arizona in the Pacific, are hoping to bounce back from a loss at Colorado on Monday that snapped their five-game winning streak. Toronto is seeking its fourth straight victory after beginning its three-game California trip with a 4-0 triumph at Anaheim on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs have won three in a row and five of their last six on the road while Jonathan Bernier has been victorious in five of his last seven decisions. The 27-year-old former King’s 39-save performance against the Ducks was his second shutout of the season, with the first coming in a 5-0 win over Los Angeles on Dec. 19.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Ontario (Toronto), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (16-15-7): PA Parenteau reached double digits in goals for the fifth time in six seasons by tallying twice in Wednesday’s triumph. Leo Komarov’s assist against Anaheim kept him one point behind James van Riemsdyk (29) for the team lead. The 28-year-old Komarov, who tops the club with 15 goals but has gone six games without one, was named Toronto’s lone representative at the 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville later this month.
ABOUT THE KINGS (25-12-2): Los Angeles only will be on the hook for half of the salaries of Schenn and Lecavalier, who has two more years remaining on his contract but announced via his agent that he will retire at the end of this season. The 35-year-old is a four-time All-Star who won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and Maurice Richard Trophy in 2007 while with Tampa Bay. Defenseman Drew Doughty, who is fourth on the team in scoring with 24 points, and Jonathan Quick, who needs one shutout to become the all-time leader among American-born goaltenders, were named as the Kings’ representatives for the All-Star Game.
1. The Kings sent 23-year-old C Jordan Weal and a 2016 third-round draft pick to the Flyers in Wednesday’s trade and assigned D Derek Forbort to Ontario of the American Hockey League.
2. Toronto C Nazem Kadri has scored a goal in two straight games and notched at least one point in eight of his last nine contests.
3. Los Angeles D Matt Greene reportedly will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery Dec. 3.
PREDICTION: Kings 4, Maple Leafs 2