Kings-Maple Leafs Preview
GAME: Los Angeles Kings (16-11-1) at Toronto Maple Leafs (15-10-3).
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The third time may be the charm for Ed Belfour - finally.
The veteran goaltender will try again to move into sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list when the Toronto Maple Leafs welcome the Los Angeles Kings.
The 40-year-old Belfour tied Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk's 447 career wins with 34 saves in a 2-1 win on Nov. 28 over the Florida Panthers. In two starts since then, however, Belfour has given up seven goals in losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks.
Belfour gave up three goals in a 6:12 span of the second period in the loss to the Sharks.
"For some reason we gave them too many easy goals that were tough for Eddie to stop," Toronto left wing Darcy Tucker said.
In his last 21 starts against the Kings, Belfour is 14-5-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average. Los Angeles is trying to avoid its season-high fifth straight loss.
Should he reach the milestone, however, Belfour would need 104 more wins to overtake future Hall of Famer Patrick Roy (551).
Tucker has scored five goals in his last five games, but the Maple Leafs have not been getting much production from captain Mats Sundin. The veteran has just four goals in 16 games and is on pace for just 20 goals - the lowest output of his 15-year career.
Special teams have been a weakness recently for Los Angeles. The Kings have given up power-play goals in 10 straight games and have only two power-play tallies in their last 39 chances over six games.
Goaltender Mathieu Garon gave up Jan Bulis' short-handed goal early in the third period of a 3-2 loss Saturday to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Kings also have a struggling veteran on their hands. Center Jeremy Roenick has missed the last two games with what he says is pneumonia.
Roenick, who has just one goal and two assists in his last eight games, stopped in a Toronto hospital Sunday for outpatient treatment of a sore throat and flu-like symptoms dragged him down.
"Obviously, I need to rest or it won't go away (but) knowing me, probably yes," he told the Los Angeles Times when asked if he could play.
Roenick has 41 career goals against Toronto - the most in his career against any team.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 5): Kings - 33 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Pacific Division. Maple Leafs - 33 points, 4th place, 9 PB, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Pavol Demitra, 14 goals, 22 assists and 36 points; Sean Avery, 108 PIM. Maple Leafs - Tucker, 12 goals; Bryan McCabe, 25 assists and 35 points; Tie Domi, 41 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 5): Kings - Power play: 14.9 percent (27 for 181), tied for 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.3 percent (140 for 170), tied for 15th. Maple Leafs - Power play: 22.7 percent (41 for 180), tied for 2nd. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (141 for 172), 17th.
GOALTENDERS: Kings - Jason LaBarbera (8-5-1, 0 SO, 2.89 GAA); Garon (8-6-0, 0, 2.98). Maple Leafs - Belfour (12-8-2, 0, 3.26); Mikael Tellqvist (3-2-1, 1, 2.41).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 0-0-1.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 13, 2003; 4-4. At Los Angeles, Gary Roberts, Alexander Mogilny and Owen Nolan scored in the final 16 minutes to rally Toronto.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 6-7-1 on the road; Maple Leafs - 9-5-1 at home.