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Toronto
Maple Leafs
34-35-13
Los Angeles
Kings
34-37-11

30 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
TOR
LAK
game preview

Maple Leafs-Kings Preview

Monday, 12.01.2008 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

Strong goaltending contributed to the Los Angeles Kings' success last month. That needs to continue with a grueling schedule to start December.

The Kings, seeking a third straight win, open a stretch of four games in six days on Monday as the Toronto Maple Leafs visit Staples Center.

Los Angeles (10-9-3) went 7-4-2 in November, compiling a 2.43 goals-against average in that span.

Jason LaBarbera - starting for the first time since Nov. 1 - made 22 saves in Wednesday's 2-1 win at Edmonton, while Erik Ersberg stopped 22 shots to beat visiting Chicago 5-2 on Saturday.

The Kings are on the verge of their longest winning streak since a season-high four-game run from Nov. 6-13. They must, however, overcome a challenging stretch over the next week to keep the streak intact, but coach Terry Murray is confident in his goaltending tandem and will start LaBarbera on Monday.

LaBarbera started the first 10 games this season before giving way to Ersberg, who boasts a 2.29 GAA in 13 appearances.

"We have four games in six days and it is important we have two goalies that are capable of playing and to keep playing," Murray told the Kings' official Web site.

"I really liked the way LaBarbera played in Edmonton, he had a big win for us. It was important to bounce back and do the right step as a team and get the win under our belt. He is ready to play, he is hungry and he wants to get back in there."

LaBarbera faced a career-high 50 shots in his only appearance versus Toronto (8-9-6) - a 5-2 home victory on Jan. 10 - and hopes his teammates can build on their latest offensive performance.

On Saturday, Alexander Frolov, Patrick O'Sullivan and Jarret Stoll had a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings, who scored at least five goals for the fourth time this season.

"We showed maturity," said Kings center Derek Armstrong, who ended a 29-game goal-scoring drought with the go-ahead tally in the third period. "We had a couple of lapses during the game, but we found a way to win."

The Maple Leafs struggled to do that during their recent five-game slide (0-3-2), but halted the skid with a 4-2 victory over visiting Philadelphia on Saturday.

Hours before the win, Toronto formally announced Brian Burke agreed to a six-year deal to become president and general manager, replacing interim GM Cliff Fletcher.

Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore each had a goal and an assist, backing a 28-save performance from Vesa Toskala for the Maple Leafs, who seek back-to-back wins for the first time since Oct. 29-Nov. 1.

"As players, there's always going to be stuff that's going on that's going to distract you," said Moore, who has two goals and two assists in his last four games. "If it's not one thing, it's another. That's the challenge that everybody faces, to play a focused game and not worry about surrounding things that are out of their control."

Toronto looks to halt its recent road woes as it kicks off a three-game swing. The Leafs have dropped five of their last six (1-4-1) away from home, and are 1-4-0 with two ties in seven visits to Los Angeles since Feb. 8, 1996.

In that span, the Kings lead the series 10-4-1 with two ties.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 01 '08TOR 3 at LAK 1M. Grabovski
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Stajan2371421+01250
N. Antropov249918+21022
N. Hagman2471017+3240
M. Grabovski2410616-21631
A. Ponikarovsky2461016+51621
L. Stempniak1841216-3401
T. Kaberle2421315-6410
D. Moore245611-32911
P. Kubina245611-52721
N. Kulemin244610-1211
J. Blake203710-21010
M. Van Ryn14358+1620
I. White13347+4700
J. Mitchell19257-7400
J. Finger17246+41300
A. Stralman17156+2601
A. Steen20224-4610
J. Mayers24134-104200
L. Schenn24022-82400
R. Hollweg13022-62900
C. Colaiacovo10011-2600
J. Frogren10011-5600
J. Tlusty9000-2000
A. Deveaux3000+1500
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
V. Toskala219-6-5625673.02.891
C. Joseph60-3-1151013.95.851
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
A. Kopitar2351318-11211
A. Frolov239716+21230
D. Brown238715+03012
P. O'Sullivan227613+10410
K. Quincey2021113+51412
J. Stoll237512+62230
M. Handzus235712-21211
O. Moller22459+21430
D. Doughty23358+41411
T. Preissing18347-4620
K. Calder18235+01710
S. O'Donnell23055+23300
P. Harrold16055-4400
M. Greene23044+33300
W. Simmonds23123-22200
D. Armstrong14112-81501
D. Gauthier21022-62300
B. Boyle14101-71200
M. Moulson7101-4201
B. Richardson8011+1500
R. Ivanans23000-84300
J. Zeiler2000+01900
J. Johnson2000-3200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
E. Ersberg136-4-2272692.29.900
J. LaBarbera134-6-1323012.79.894