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Injury-riddled Kings look for strong effort against Toronto

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



MAPLE LEAFS (22-17-3) at KINGS (19-13-10)

7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

LAST WITH THE LEAFS: Tonight marks the second and final meeting with the Maple Leafs this season; the Kings fell 4-3 in a shootout to Toronto on December 14 at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto is playing the first game of their four-game road trip; the Kings are playing their fourth of seven straight games at STAPLES Center. The Maple Leafs are coming off of a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night, snapping their three-game losing streak. The Kings are coming off of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night.

JONES IN: Martin Jones, who left the ice first during today’s morning skate at Toyota Sports Center, is projected to make his eighth start of the season tonight. Jones’ previous start came on December 12 in Montreal against the Canadiens, where he allowed six goals on 20 shots in a 6-2 Kings loss. Jones comes into the night with a 3-3-2 record, posting a .908 SV% and a 2.32 GAA. Jones has made one career start against the Maple Leafs, stopping 38 of 39 shots he faced in a 3-1 Kings win on December 11 of last season.

RED CROSS: The Kings find themselves suddenly without key forwards Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. Toffoli was diagnosed with mononucleosis on Friday night, and is out indefinitely. Pearson suffered a fractured left fibula after crashing hard into the boards Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets and has been placed on injured-reserve. The Kings have called up Nick Shore from the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs. Shore, who skated with the Kings this morning in El Segundo, is second in the AHL in scoring with 41 points (20G, 21A) in 37 games played with Manchester this season. Shore is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight.

LINEUP NOTES: Andy Andreoff is expected to play in his 10th game of the season tonight, and his first since December 30. Andreoff will center the Kings’ fourth unit alongside Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan – who will be playing in his 21st game of the season tonight. Per Jon Rosen, who was on hand at the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo, here is how tonight’s lineup should shake up:

GABORIK – KOPITAR – CARTER
BROWN – STOLL – WILLIAMS
KING – RICHARDS – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
(SHORE)
-------------------------------
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – GREENE
SCHULTZ – MARTINEZ
(REGEHR – MCBAIN)

BERNIER IN LA: Former Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier will get the start for the Maple Leafs tonight. Bernier will be making his 27th start of the season, and comes into the night with a 16-10-3 record, posting a .916 SV% and a 2.73 GAA. Bernier made 18 saves in the Maple Leafs’ 5-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Friday night. Since being dealt to Toronto, Bernier has played in two games against his former team – stopping 28 of the 33 shots the Kings have fired his way.

LEAF-KILLER: In 20 games played against the Toronto Maple Leafs during his NHL career, Marian Gaborik has registered a whopping 24 points (14G, 10A). Gaborik has three points (2G, 1A) in the previous three games, and leads the Kings in goals scored with 13. Can Gaborik help kick-start the Kings’ offense tonight with a little more personal success against the Leafs?

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The last time the Kings hosted Toronto at STAPLES Center, on March 13 of last season, the Maple Leafs won 3-2. The Kings built an early 2-0 lead with goals from Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik in the first period, but Toronto stormed back with three unanswered goals to win the game. Jonathan Quick made 26 saves in the loss. Toronto has won each of their previous three games played in Los Angeles at STAPLES Center, dating back to December 1, 2008.

TAKE A KNEE

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 7:00PM on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop at 7:30PM PT.

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