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Youth vs. Experience in Kings-Maple Leafs Matchup

Fourth youngest team takes on the second oldest

by Jesse Cohen @KingsMenPodcast / LAKings.com

The Toronto Maple Leafs host the LA Kings tonight in what could easily be described as a battle of Youth vs. Experience.

The Maple Leafs are the fourth youngest team in the NHL, with an average age of 25.61 years.

Conversely, this year's Kings are the second oldest team, with an average age of 28.164 years.

The Kings have won two Stanley Cup Championships and have appeared in three Conference Finals in the past six seasons. Their current lineup boasts 10 players that were significant contributors in the 2011-12 Stanley Cup winning season.

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have only one playoff appearance in their previous 11 seasons, and their current lineup features six NHL rookies that have appeared in all 12 of their games this season.

Let's take a quick look back at how the two teams have fared against each other since the Kings entered the league in 1967, as well as the top performers against each respective club.

First Matchup between Kings and Maple Leafs in Toronto:

October 26, 1967
Maple Leafs 4 - Kings 0

Most Recent Matchup between Kings and Maple Leafs in Toronto:

December 19, 2015
Maple Leafs 5 - LAK 0

Maple Leafs defeat LA Kings 5-0 in Toronto

 Kings All-Time Record vs. Maple Leafs

63-59-21-2

487 Goals For
485 Goals Allowed 

Kings All-Time Record at Air Canada Centre

6-2-0-2

 Kings Leading Scorers Against Toronto

Dustin Brown - 8 points (5-3=8) in 13 games

Drew Doughty - 7 points (2-5=7) in 10 games

Anze Kopitar - 6 points (2-4=6) in 11 games

 Leafs Leading Scorers Against Kings

Nazim Kadri - 6 points (0-6=6) in 6 games

Leo Komarov - 3 points (2-1=3) in 3 games 

Familiar Faces

Jhonas Enroth

 Tweet from @KingsMenPodcast: Enroth comin' through pic.twitter.com/wvwr0c3gMR 

Now, let's see who is leading the way for the Kings and Maple Leafs this season: 

LA Kings Leading Scorer

Alec Martinez - 9 points (2-7=9)

The Kings are in the midst of a five-game stretch against Canadian teams and kick off their seven-day road trip against the Maple Leafs.

They find themselves in the top Wild Card position with a 6-6-0 record, but those wins haven't come easy as the Kings needed overtime in five of their six wins.

It could have been a much more difficult start to the season, but, thanks to the heroics of Alec Martinez, they find themselves keeping pace in the Pacific Division despite mounting injuries.

The Kings are lead in scoring by the aforementioned Martinez but have also received strong play from Tanner Pearson who missed the first two games of the season due to a suspension.

Pearson and Martinez have both shined in overtime, as has newcomer Nic Dowd.

Nic Dowd Scores on Marc-Andre Fleury | Kings Beat Penguins 3-2 

Toronto Maple Leafs Leading Scorer
William Nylander - 12 points (4-8=12)

Leading the way for the Maple Leafs is a trio of rookies: William Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

Nylander, taken No. 8 overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, currently leads the team in scoring, but it was Matthews, taken No. 1 overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, who grabbed headlines to begin the season when he scored four goals in his historic debut against the Ottawa Senators.

Watch all 4 of Auston Matthews' goals in NHL debut

Providing scoring depth and veteran leadership to the trio of young scorers is Nazim Kadri, James Van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak. The veteran forwards were all a part of the 2012-13 team that gave up a 4-1 third period lead in the Maple Leafs Round 1 Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins.

Toronto Maple Leafs Fans React to Boston Bruins Game 7 Overtime Win

Following the 2013-14 season, Hockey Hall-of-Famer Brendan Shanahan was named President and Governor of the Maple Leafs. One year later, Mike Babcock and Lou Lamoriello were named Head Coach and General Manager, respectively.

Under the new regime, the Maple Leafs have seemingly turned their fortunes around and have stocked the franchise with impressive young talent, moved difficult and expensive veteran contracts and ushered in an era of optimism that actually seems warranted.

But then again, the season is only one month old.

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