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Leafs vs. Kings Game Preview: Toronto Uber Alles

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The Leafs wrap up their trip to California against Los Angeles.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs at Los Angeles Kings: Game 14

Location: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, CA

Broadcast/Streaming: TSN4, FS-W

Opponent SBNation Site: Jewels From The Crown

I am Leaf winger Connor Brown/My Corsi smiles and never frowns

That is the best song ever written about California, y’all.

Coming off a heartening victory against half an NHL team in Anaheim, the Leafs now head into the final game of their California swing with the prospect of winning two out of three. Toronto has already played the Los Angeles Kings once at home, on October 23, and they bagged a solidly played 3-2 win.

That win was an achievement; the only teams to beat LA in regulation this year are Toronto and St. Louis. The Kings’ underlying numbers are actually not as impressive as historically, when they rode long shots and elite defence to routinely high-end Corsi results. They’re still a lower-event team than Toronto, though, and Jonathan Quick is playing like it’s the 2012 playoffs (save percentage currently sitting at .942.) Oh, and we’re starting our backup.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Kasperi Kapanen

James van Riemsdyk - Patrick Marleau- Connor Brown

Matt Martin - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner - Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman - Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Curtis McElhinney

Frederik Andersen

He’s a restless soul, that Mike Babcock. Despite an impressive win, for the most part, with Josh Leivo and Connor Carrick in the lineup, he’s making changes, cycling in Kasperi Kapanen and Roman Polak. In fairness to the chief, though, Josh Leivo’s line struggled mightily in the first two periods, and it is a back-to-back.

We aren’t yet certain who exactly will cycle out for Kapanen and Polak, although the smart betting is indeed Leivo and Carrick. We will update when we’re sure. (Update: again we are right in our analysis.)

The Leafs weren’t keen on Patrick Marleau at centre, and it was only one game against a depleted foe, but that line of JvR - Marleau - Brown looked extremely fine in Anaheim.

As stated above, McE gets the start.

Kings lines are via Daily Faceoff and will be updated as we learn more.

Los Angeles Kings

Forward Lines

Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson - Adrian Kempe - Tyler Toffoli

Michael Cammaleri - Brooks Laich - Trevor Lewis

Andy Andreoff - Mike Amadio - Nic Dowd

Defence Pairings

Derek Forbot - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez

Kurtis Macdermid - Christian Folin

Goaltenders

Jonathan Quick

Darcy Kuemper

I wouldn’t exactly say they’re deep at centre—Brooks Laich? Jesus—but the Kings are still a tough team with quality high-end talent. Adrian Kempe was particularly impressive in the first Toronto-LA game, as a very quick and dangerous forward.

Also, don’t look now, but Dustin “Worst Contract In The NHL” Brown is point per game this season. Hm.

It’s going to be a tough one, no question. But we’ve beat these guys before. Go Leafs Go.