Maple Leafs welcome the Kings into Toronto for a Halloween night tilt
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita1 month ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally returned home after wrapping up their season-long five-game road trip in Nashville, Tennessee, on the weekend, where they went 3-1-1, picking up seven out of the possible 10 points.
They return to Toronto with a strong record of 5-2-1 and prepare to host a Los Angeles Kings team that has gone 4-2-2 through their first eight games, which is good enough for third place in the Pacific division.
Maple Leafs’ lineup:
Although it was a successful road trip for the Maple Leafs, they lost two defensemen to injury in the final two games in Dallas and Nashville, in Jake McCabe and Timothy Liljegren, leaving fans wondering if Brad Treliving – who was rumoured to want to tinker with his blue line – was going to make a trade shortly to help the back end.
Fortunately, Liljegren was seen on the ice for Leafs practice yesterday morning and is projected to be back in the lineup tonight.
However, McCabe wasn’t on the ice, and Keefe told the media that he hopes to have him back on the ice soon after sustaining his injury against the Stars just 10 seconds into his first shift.
With Liljegren back on the ice and McCabe still sidelined, these were the line rushes in yesterday’s practice, according to Mark Masters of TSN.
No changes to the group that went 3-1-1 on the road, and they will be going with Joseph Woll between the pipes for tonight’s tilt against the Kings, according to Sheldon Keefe.
The Kings’ lineup:
The Los Angeles Kings are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to their divisional rival, the Vegas Golden Knights, but are on a three-game point streak with back-to-back wins over the Arizona Coyotes, and they will look to continue that into Toronto before they continue their four-game road trip into Ottawa Thursday night.
The Kings were in Toronto yesterday practicing, but I couldn’t find their practice lines anywhere. However, these were their lines during their last game against Vegas, and there’s a chance they run the same lineup out there tonight.
According to Mark Masters, Kings head coach Todd McLellan said it’s likely they go back to Cam Talbot between the pipes.
Talbot has a record of 3-2-1 and has posted a .905 SV% and a 2.72 GAA in the early going of the season. So, them likely going with him over Phoenix Copley, who is 1-0-1 with a .788 SV% and a 4.96 GAA, seems like the right choice on paper.
Players to watch:
Against Nashville, I said to watch out for the defence, given the absence of Jake McCabe, and how they needed to step up and come up big again, just like the Dallas game. Although they lost in overtime, I thought they did a good job limiting the Predators.
Tonight, they’ll be without McCabe again, and the defence will need to continue playing well, especially against a Kings team that ranks first in the NHL in goals with 4.38 per game and 10th in shots with 33.0 per game. On the other side of the puck, the Kings don’t give up a lot of shots but have given up a lot of goals, so it’ll be interesting to watch.
I’m also going to watch for the top line of Jarnkrok-Matthews-Marner. This trio, more so Matthews and Marner, haven’t been as dominant as we’d like them to be five-on-five. A lot of Toronto’s success, at least through the eye test, has been that second line of Tavares and Nylander, and now Bertuzzi.
If you’re looking at the numbers of goals and assists, you might be saying the top line is doing fine, and that’s true. However, six of Matthews’ seven goals came in the first two games, and Marner has seven points in eight games, which is the least out of the big four forwards.
You can catch the Maple Leafs and Kings tonight in action on TSN4 at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT.
(Stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
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