Tonight marks the first of two meetings with the Maple Leafs, Toronto will visit STAPLES Center on January 7 to complete the season series. The Maple Leafs are capping off a four-game home stand where they’ve gone 1-0-2 thus far, they’re coming off of a 5-4 OT loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The Kings are completing a six-game road trip where they’ve gone 3-1-1 thus far, they’re coming off of a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.
70’S REUNION: The Kings held a full practice Friday at the Montreal Canadiens’ facility in Brossard, QC; and for the first time this season, Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli were reunited during line rushes as the team’s second unit. “Hopefully we can have the chemistry that we’ve had before and get things going again,” Pearson said following Friday’s practice.
LINEUP: The Kings held an optional morning skate at the Air Canade Centre in anticipation of tonight’s game. No line rushes were held, so the units used during Friday’s practice should check out. Trevor Lewis skated alongside Michael Mersch and Dustin Brown on the third line and did not remain on the ice for extra work, he is expected to slot back into the lineup after missing seven games. Jonathan Quick will start in net.
LUCIC – KOPITAR – GABORIK
PEARSON – CARTER – TOFFOLI
MERSCH – LEWIS – BROWN
ANDREOFF – SHORE – NOLAN
MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
EHRHOFF – MCBAIN
ACC COLLECT: The Kings have earned points in each of their previous eight visits to the Air Canada Centre, dating back to January 17, 2001. Since then, the Kings are 6-0-2, losing once in overtime and once in a shootout. Prior to the Kings’ shootout loss last season in Toronto, they had won four straight games in the Maple Leafs’ home arena. The Kings have an all-time record of 6-1-2 at the Air Canada Centre, which opened prior to the 1999-’00 campaign.
BERN NOTICE: The Kings will face former goaltender Jonathan Bernier tonight, who is slated to start in net for Toronto. Bernier’s had a disastrous season for the Maple Leafs; he has yet to win a game all season, posting a 0-8-3 record with a .883 SV% and a 3.46 GAA. Bernier, who recently returned from a conditioning stint in the AHL, has been handed the starting role due to injuries to James Reimer and Garret Sparks. Bernier’s backup tonight, Antoine Bibeau, has never started an NHL game. Since the Kings dealt Bernier to Toronto on June 23, 2013, he his 0-2-0 in three starts against his former club.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In two meetings with the Maple Leafs last season, the Kings went 1-0-1, falling 4-3 in a shootout on December 14, 2014 in Toronto and winning 2-0 on January 12, 2015 at STAPLES Center. Jonathan Quick started one game against the Leafs last season, stopping 28 of 31 shots faced in the Kings’ shootout loss at the Air Canada Centre. Anze Kopitar (1G, 1A) and Marian Gaborik (2G) led all Kings players in points scored against Toronto last season.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 4:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from the Air Canada Centre for puck drop just after 4:30. As always, you can listen to Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves at AM 790 KABC.