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Game Preview - California Here We Come - Leafs @ Kings

Pedal to the floor. Thinkin' of the roar. Gotta get us to the show. California here we come. Right back where we started from. California! Here we come!

I look prettier with my helemt off.
I look prettier with my helemt off.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

It's the most wonderful time of the season for any fan of an NHL Eastern Conference team: the California Road Trip! You get a perfect excuse to stay up really late and watch hockey. There's even back to back games on Wednesday and Thursday! Sucks to be a player though.

Remember what happened when the Leafs made the trek to the golden state last season?

March 10: Leafs 3, Ducks 1
March 11: Leafs 2, Sharks 6
March 13: Leafs 3, Kings 2

Hmmmm. That's..... actually not bad. To come out of California with 4 points against three perennial playoff teams (LOL)? All while staying on the good side of the playoff bubble!

From there it must have been all rainbows and sunshine straight to the playoffs!

Oh. Right. Some other stuff happened.

March 16 Leafs 2, Caps 4
March 18 Leafs 2, Wings 3
March 19  Leafs 3, Bolts 5
March 22 Leafs 3, Habs 4
March 23 Leafs 2, Devils 3
March 25 Leafs 3, Blues 5
March 28 Leafs 2. Flyers 4
March 29 Leafs 2, Wings 4

So, here we go again. Will the Leafs new coaching staff steer the boat through to calm waters on the other side of Cali? Or will they just start to burn the boats in LA?

TONIGHT: The Kings

The Kings are in a spot of trouble with injuries right now. Rookie Tanner Pearson, just named to the All-Star game skills competition, broke his fibula. Tyler Toffoli is out with mono. Someone get him some magazines! Quick is still in net, which will be awkward because he still has feelings for Bernier, and we know they are no longer requited. Maybe that will throw him off his game?

The Kings are once again a high possession team. Puck On Net lists the Kings even-strength score adjusted corsi at 54.2 for the season to date. That's fourth in the league behind only the Hawks, Bolts, and Wings. The Leafs rank 27th at 44.5. But we've got a whole new coach now, and he's apparently making changes, so we will see.

Species' Scoop

THE LOCAL BOY: Mr. Mono is from Scarborough (I guess we know where he got it from!). Since he's out, the next closest is I guess, Andy Andreoff, from Pickering. He has only 9 NHL games under his belt so far. You can find a report on him here courtesy of JFTC, but he's pretty much a fourth-line face-puncher/grinder. He probably won't dress for tonight's game either. So then who is the next local boy? I guess there are no 'locals', just some toothless hillbillies from in and around London.

THE EX-LEAF: I'm going with Marian Gaborik. True, he has never had anything to do with the Leafs organization, but he was traded to LA by Columbus for some shitty draft picks and current Leaf, and former Leaf, and fomer ex-Leaf, and ex- LA King, and world lawnmower tossing champion: Matt Frattin! There's logic in there somewhere.

Speaking of Matt Frattin, he sure looks different since the Leafs traded for him back. Maybe this explains his unexpectedly poor performance....

THE LOCAL SCENE:  Jewels From The Crown has the scoop from the King's point of view. Or there's Battle of California for the high-functioning heroin addict's point of view.

WHAT AM I DRINKING TONIGHT? A bottle of a fine California white called  Conundrum; as that kind of sums up the Leafs right now.

As a result of playing on the wrong coast, this week's games will all be late. It's a 10:30PM EST start tonight broadcast on Sportsnet, so maybe take a mid-afternoon nap!