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At the Rink: Kings at Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to make it five straight wins Sunday when they play the Los Angeles Kings at Air Canada Centre.

The Maple Leafs, who earned back-to-back victories against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday and Saturday, are 8-1-1 since losing 9-2 at home against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 18.

Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said that was a turning point in the season for the Maple Leafs.

"There was an event that took place, I think it was the 9-2 beating we took at home, that changed our group since then," Carlyle said. "I think if you look at our record and goals-against since then and the things we have been able to accomplish since that point; that was the low point in the season for us. We didn't feel very good about ourselves. We were embarrassed. We lost 6-2 the game before and then we got kicked at home 9-2. We got booed at home deservedly so. [The players] made a conscious effort that they were going to change things from that point on."

The Maple Leafs are the NHL's highest scoring team, averaging 3.38 goals per game, and have won 12 of their first 19 games at home for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Their 8-1-1 record in the past 10 games is the best in the League over that period.

In back-to-back games this season, Toronto is 4-1-1.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings had Saturday off after losing 6-2 against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. The Kings defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3 on Thursday, are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games and rank ninth in the Western Conference.

Though the Kings lost Friday, they fired a season-high 46 shots on goal but were stymied by Montreal goalie Carey Price. Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown said he felt the Kings played a good first period and were okay in the second, but let things slip away in the third.

"We played the wrong way and gave up too many 2-on-1s," Brown said.

Here are the projected lineups:


Marian GaborikAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Tanner PearsonJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

Dustin BrownJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Kyle CliffordMike RichardsDwight King

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Robyn RegehrAlec Martinez

Brayden McNabbMatt Greene

Jonathan Quick

Martin Jones

Scratched: Jamie McBain, Jordan Nolan, Slava Voynov

Injured: None


James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Mike Santorelli

Joffrey Lupul - Peter Holland - David Clarkson

David BoothTrevor SmithRichard Panik

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner - Korbinian Holzer

Morgan Rielly - Stephane Robidas

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Brandon Kozun

Injured: Roman Polak (knee), Leo Komarov (concussion)

Status report: The Maple Leafs could play goalie James Reimer against the Kings on Sunday. Reimer made 41 saves in a 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday.

Who's hot: van Riemsdyk has two goals and four points in his past three games for the Maple Leafs … Kessel has two goals and three points in his past three games … Muzzin had three assists against Ottawa for the Kings on Thursday and scored against Montreal on Friday.

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