TORONTO IN TOWN:
Tonight marks the second and final meeting with the Maple Leafs this season, Toronto’s only visit to STAPLES Center. The Maple Leafs are playing the second of a three-game road trip through California, they’re coming off of a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. The Kings are playing the first of a four-game home stand, they’re coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in anticipation of tonight’s game. Neither Vincent Lecavalier or Luke Schenn will play tonight. Jeff Carter skated between Tanner Pearson and Marian Gaborik on the second line and is likely to return to the lineup. Jonathan Quick left the ice first and will start in net.
LUCIC – KOPITAR – TOFFOLI
PEARSON –CARTER – GABORIK
KING – LEWIS – BROWN
ANDREOFF – SHORE – NOLAN
(MERSCH – LECAVALIER)
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
EHRHOFF – MCNABB
REIMER REASON: Toronto will go with James Reimer in net tonight, where he will make his 16th start of the season. Reimer carries a 7-4-4 record into the night with a .936 SV% and a 1.97 GAA. Reimer, who’s been out with a groin injury, will be making his first start since December 3. In three starts and four appearances in his career against the Kings, Reimer is 3-0-1 with one shutout.
CARTER’S RETURN?: Jeff Carter, who has missed the Kings’ last five-plus games due to an undisclosed upper-body injury, could return to the lineup tonight. Carter skated in between Marian Gaborik and Tanner Pearson during Wednesday practice and at today’s morning skate. Carter, who has 28 points (11G, 17A) in 34 games this season, led the club in scoring at the time of his injury. The Kings went 5-1-0 during Carter’s absence, if you include the game he was injured in, scoring 20 goals in regulation. Tyler Toffoli (31PTS) and Anze Kopitar (30PTS) both leap-frogged Carter for the team’s lead in points while the centerman was out.
LEAFS IN LA: In Toronto’s last visit to STAPLES Center on January 12 of last season, the Kings won 2-0. Anze Kopitar scored 37 seconds into the game, Marian Gaborik added an empty-netter with one minute left in regulation. Martin Jones stopped all 19 shots he faced. In the win, the Kings snapped a three-game losing streak to the Maple Leafs on home ice. Since STAPLES Center opened prior to the 1999-’00 campaign, the Kings are 2-3-0-1 in Toronto’s six visits.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous meeting with the Maple Leafs on December 19, they fell 5-0 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Jhonas Enroth started in goal, making 29 saves on 34 shots faced. Former King Jonathan Bernier stopped all 26 shots he faced to hold Los Angeles scoreless. For the Kings, it was their first regulation loss in Toronto since January 29, 2000.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.