The Los Angeles Kings (14-10-4) had a test last Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes, a test they failed. Thursday, they have another test in the Toronto Maple Leafs (16-5-6).
Puck drops at 4:00 PM.
The Kings started their road trip strong with a 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators, but the ability to string together strong performances has eluded them all season. Especially when facing the league's top teams.
The Senator's game saw a few big changes for the LA Kings. Pheonix Copley made his season debut and Adrian Kempe returned to center. Practice Wednesday indicated no changes to the lineup, except in net, where Jonathan Quick will likely get the start.
A noticeable absentee will be defenseman Brandt Clarke, who was loaned to Team Canada ahead of the World Junior Championships Wednesday. This was in line with the plan Rob Blake hinted at last week, allowing Clarke to shine amongst his peers.
It will be a second game back for Alex Iafallo, who made an immediate impact Tuesday. With Kempe and Gabe Vilardi, Iafallo, and the third line will be hoping to give the Kings an edge in depth. It's difficult to match that line's size and skill, and they can create a massive mismatch for head coach Todd McLellan.
Ilya Samsonov will man the net for Toronto. Matt Murray gets the night off after a stellar 44-save shutout on Tuesday night. Not the resurgent season Murray is having, Samsonov has impressed as a Leaf. He's 7-2-0, with a .924 save percentage and 6.8 goals saved above expected. The Kings would kill for goaltending like that right now.
Expected LA Kings Lines:
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Arthur Kaliyev
Trevor Moore-Phil Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Alex Iafallo-Adrian Kempe-Gabe Vilardi
Jaret-Anderson Dolan-Blake Lizotte-Carl Grundstrom
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Sean Walker
Expected Toronto Maple Leafs Lines:
Michael Bunting-Auston Matthews-William Nylander
Nick Robertson-John Tavares-Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot-David Kampf-Pierre Engvall
Zach Aston-Reese-Pontus Holmberg-Denis Malgin
Mark Giordano-Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin-Timothy Liljegren
T.J. Brodie-Conor Timmins
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 26-100, 26%, 8th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Penalty Kill: 26-93, 72.04%, 26th in NHL
Toronto Maple Leafs Power Play: 20-86, 23.26%, 14th in NHL
Toronto Maple Leafs Penalty Kill: 18-90, 80%, 10th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- The LA Kings have won three of their last four games against the Maple Leafs dating back to March 5, 2020.
- Viktor Arvidsson recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season Tuesday night, putting him over the 20-point plateau for his seventh consecutive season.
- The LA Kings are 10-1-0 (.909%) when leading after two periods of play this season.
- Pheonix Copley stopped 31 of 33 shots versus the Senators on Tuesday in his LA Kings debut, earning his 17th career NHL victory.
- The Kings are 6-0-1 against Atlantic Division opponents this season. Vegas (8-0-1) is the only other team in the league without a regulation loss against the Atlantic Division.
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio