Los Angeles at Toronto
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
The Toronto Maple Leafs will see a familiar face Wednesday night - and given the way they're playing, they probably wish they weren't. Ben Scrivens makes his return to Toronto as the red-hot Los Angeles Kings face the reeling Maple Leafs. Los Angeles has won four straight and is coming off back-to-back shutouts - and while neither were recorded by Scrivens, his sizzling start has played a major role in the Kings' climb to the Western Conference's upper echelon.
While Los Angeles finds itself in the mix for the top spot in the West, the Maple Leafs are fighting to remain part of the playoff picture in the East. A 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday has Toronto sitting in the eighth spot in the conference, and the Maple Leafs will be without defenseman Dion Phaneuf against the Kings. The Toronto captain was hit with a two-game suspension for boarding Bruins rookie defenseman Kevan Miller, the Maple Leafs' fifth suspension since the preseason.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, TSN (Toronto), RDS2, FSW (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE KINGS (20-7-4): It doesn't seem to matter who Los Angeles has between the posts these days. While Scrivens continues to lead the NHL in save percentage (.943) and is tied for first in shutouts (three) and second in goals-against average (1.56), rookie Martin Jones has managed to upstage the former Maple Leaf. Jones earned his second straight shutout Monday, turning aside 31 shots to lead the Kings to a 6-0 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (16-12-3): Netminder Jonathan Bernier - who came to Toronto in the deal that sent Scrivens out west - sees the Kings as a good example of the kind of team the Maple Leafs should aspire to be. "(Los Angeles') star players are two-way players, and that makes a huge difference, when guys are committed to play defensively," Bernier told the Toronto Star. The 25-year-old has struggled of late, going 2-4-2 in his previous eight starts.
1. The teams have split their last four meetings, with the road club winning each time.
2. Toronto is the only team in the East with a winning record and a negative goal differential (minus-1).
3. Maple Leafs F David Clarkson, who is two years removed from a 30-goal season, has scored just twice in his first 21 games.
PREDICTION: Kings 4, Maple Leafs 1
Stats and Records