The Toronto Maple Leafs finish the California portion of their current road trip tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. The Leafs will face arguably their toughest opponent of the season to date, as the Kings sit first in Pacific Division with only two regulation losses. The Leafs are on the back end of a back-to-back and will be starting backup Curtis McElhinney.
Defend the crease...Last night Toronto snapped their recent three game losing streak but the only real positive of that game was Frederik Andersen play. Andersen finally looked calm in the crease really for the first time all year. Maybe it was because he was at his old stomping grounds in Anaheim but whatever the case may be he held the Leafs in the game. Same thing needs to happen tonight in Los Angeles, as Toronto will have few chances offensively to make an impact, with LA allowing the least amount of goals in the NHL.
No Carter, No problem....When Jeff Carter went down early in the season with a laceration to his leg, everyone seemed to write off this LA Kings team and figured they would fall back to earth after their hot start to the season. One person in particular that has stepped up huge for the Kings and has filled Carter's role is Adrian Kempe. The 21 year old has nine points in six games since Carter went down and has seen his time on ice rise almost five minutes a game.
Vet down the middle....With his offence struggling Coach Mike Babcock made the move to put Patrick Marleau at centre, bumping Tyler Bozak down to the fourth. Marleau has played centre before in the NHL, with his career face off percentage at 47%. Last night Marleau won 63% of his draws, but his face off ability was not the only reason for his move. Marleau's defensive presence and skating helped lead that line to success last night, something Tyler Bozak has been struggling with recently, sitting at a -9 on the year. Marleau's move won't be permanent but it is interesting to see how long it will last.