If you thought the Leafs had trouble hosting the last California team to swing through Toronto, wait ’till you get a load of these guys. The Kings are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, with a 7-1-2 record in their past 10 games. They are, once again, looking like a serious Stanley Cup contender.
Oh, and the Leafs are tied for dead last. Yikes.
Whelp, Shawn Matthias’s stint on the top line was short-lived. Your number one unit tonight will be old pals James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak lining up with P.A. Kessel-lite. That second line though of Michael Grabner, Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov could be a ton of fun to watch tonight – that’s a lot of speed right there that could cause some problems for the Kings. Ah, who am I kidding? It’s the Kings. This could turn into a squash match.
There are few players that I enjoy nerding out over than Anze Kopitar. The guy is a stud, but it’s terrible that Los Angeles has apparently locked him up in a new eight-year deal. See, teams don’t win Stanley Cups with star players – they win them with effective players on entry-level contracts. We should honestly just start a petition that forces 28-year olds into retirement. Like c’mon, man. You’re so old and you probably smell it too. Make way for hot freshness.
Jonathan Bernier is back in net tonight because he’s the best option the Leafs have right now with James Reimer and Garret Sparks both on the mend. In fact, Antoine Bibeau is up from the minors and will be in the backup role tonight. It’s a messy situation, but maybe a visit from his old team is the kind of kick that Bernier needs to get focused again and play some good hockey.
For the Kings, it will be Jonathan Quick. He’s elite or he’s not very good, depending on who you ask – though his .920 SV% and 2.19 GAA look pretty nice. I’m sure the Leafs would prefer the not very good Jonathan Quick if beggars can be choosers.
What to Watch For…
- Watch out for Leafs leading scorer James van Riemsdyk with 20 points in 30 games (tied for 86th in the NHL)
- Shawn Matthias, Byron Froese and Brad Boyes look like two-thirds of a really good fourth line!!!
- HINT HINT MICHAEL BABCOCK
- Antoine Bibeau’s NHL debut, probably?