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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 11th (All times Eastern)
Los Angles Kings (20-7-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs (16-12-3), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings are coming off back-to-back shutout victories and the club will aim for a fifth straight win when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs in Wednesday's clash at Air Canada Centre.
Martin Jones posted shutouts in consecutive outings, anchoring Saturday's 3-0 home win over the visiting New York Islanders before stopping 31 shots in a 6-0 romp of the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The win over the Habs came in the opener of a four-game road trip and improved the Kings' away record this season to 10-3-2.
Ben Scrivens and Jonathan Bernier expect to get the starts for the Kings and Maple Leafs, respectively, as both netminders prepare to face their former teams. Both goalies were part of a trade last summer that saw Bernier go to Toronto in exchange for Scrivens, forward Matt Frattin, and a second-round pick in either 2014 or 2015.
Bernier has posted solid numbers in his first season with the Leafs, registering a 2.49 goals against average and .929 save percentage to go with a 9-8-2 record.
"Probably a lot of excitement, maybe nervous a little bit," Bernier told the Maple Leafs website on Tuesday about playing against his former team. "And after the first shot, probably it will go away. But it definitely will be a first for me, to get traded and play against my old team. It's going to be fun."
Scrivens, meanwhile, was acquired to serve as Jonathan Quick's backup in L.A., but the former Maple Leaf has taken over a starting role since Quick went down to a groin injury in mid-November. He has thrived in Quick's absence, going 7-2-4 with a 1.56 GAA and .943 save percentage
Jones, in only his third NHL start, continued his shutout streak that began in earnest with a 16-save, 3-0 whitewash of the Islanders on Saturday. On Tuesday, he stopped 31 shots sent at him by the Habs, including a 17-shot barrage in the opening 20 minutes.
"I didn't expect that many shots early. It's a sign of a good team to hold them off," said Jones.
Jordan Nolan, Anze Kopitar, Alec Martinez, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin and Justin Williams all scored for the Kings to back Jones' effort.
Los Angeles enters this matchup having won six of the past 10 overall encounters against the Leafs and the Kings have claimed three in a row and five of the past six meetings in Toronto.
The Maple Leafs will try to rebound from their sixth loss in eight games when they take the ice tonight. Toronto won't have defenseman Dion Phaneuf to help it bounce back, but forward Joffrey Lupul could return from an injured groin.
Toronto had won two in a row before getting dealt a 5-2 home setback in Sunday's tilt against the rival Boston Bruins. In addition to losing the contest, Phaneuf also wound up with a two-game suspension for an illegal check delivered in the game against Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller.
The incident, which didn't draw a penalty, occurred at the 17:43 mark of the third period when Phaneuf drilled Miller from behind and into the boards. As a result of the suspension, the Leafs will be without Phaneuf, who leads the club in ice time, for tonight's contest as well as Thursday's game in St. Louis.
Phaneuf has two goals and 10 assists in 31 games this season. He will available to return for Saturday's home game against Chicago.
Lupul, meanwhile, expects to be a game-time decision after sitting out the last seven games with a groin issue. He is a big part of Toronto's offense and has eight goals and seven assists through 22 games this season.
Patrice Bergeron and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist in Boston's road win over the Leafs.
Peter Holland had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, and Jay McClement also scored in a losing effort. Bernier turned aside 35-of-39 shots in defeat.
The setback on Sunday dropped Toronto to 10-6-0 on home ice this season.
12/11 10:51:15 ET