The Los Angeles Kings will play their first game since the NHL’s trade deadline when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. It will be the first chance the league gets to see the new-look Kings who shipped away forward Dwight King and brought in seasoned-veteran Jarome Iginla before Wednesday’s deadline.
Los Angeles started their deadline day by sending King to the Montreal Canadiens in return for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. Their deadline day was done after they brought in Iginla from Colorado in exchange for the conditional fourth-round they had received in the King-deal.
For Iginla, it is a reunion with Darryl Sutter, who coached the 39-year-old in Calgary from 2003 to 2006. The Kings went into the deadline looking for a winger to skate alongside the likes of Anze Kopitar. After the team’s morning skate, it looks as if that’s right where Iginla will make his Los Angeles debut on Thursday night.
Outside of a trade for Brian Boyle before deadline day, the Maple Leafs played this year’s deadline quiet only bringing in Eric Fehr on the last day of transactions. Yes, Toronto is all in on their young core led by rookie sensation Auston Matthews.
The 19-year-old leads the Maple Leafs with 31 goals and is behind only Sidney Crosby (34) for the league’s lead in goals. Sitting one goal behind Mathews in the league’s top five is Kings leading scorer Jeff Carter with 30 goals of his own.
The two teams have met once this season when the Kings traveled to Toronto and handed the Maple Leafs a 7-0 loss early in the season. Six different players scored for Los Angeles and Peter Budaj turned away 19 shots in the win.
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Los Angeles Kings
Staples Center – 7:30 PM PST Saturday, Mar. 2, 2017
Broadcast Channels: FS-W, SNO
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 8, 2016 – Kings 7, Maple Leafs 0
Los Angeles Kings – 30-27-6 – 66 Points
Home Record: 16-11-1
Hot Players: Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson
Jarome Iginla– Anze Kopitar – Marian Gaborik
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Trevor Lewis – Nick Shore – Dustin Brown
Adrian Kempe – Nic Dowd – Kyle Clifford
Derek Forbort– Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Paul LaDue
Brayden McNabb – Alec Martinez
Toronto Maple Leafs – 28-21-13 – 69 Points
Away Record: 13-11-7
Hot Players: Auston Matthews and William Nylander
Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul and Stephane Robidas
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Connor Brown
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Matt Martin – Brian Boyle – Matt Martin
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak
Morgan Reilly– Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardner – Alexey Marchenko
1) In his first season in Toronto, Frederik Andersen has taken on a workhorse mentality. The goalie has started in 51 games for the Maple Leafs and has gone 24-14-12 with a 2.75 goal against average and .915 save percentage. On the other hand, there is less certainty in net for the Kings. Jonathan Quick recently returned from a groin injury and has been in only two full games and Ben Bishop was traded to Los Angeles just a week ago.
2) Jeff Carter, who had two goals for the Kings in their 7-0 win over the Maple Leafs back in November, leads his team with 30 goals and has three goals and nine points in his last nine games.
3) The Maple Leafs opened their three-game road trip through California with a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. The three-game trip along California’s coast will conclude in Anaheim on Friday night for the second leg of back-to-back games for Toronto.
4) Tanner Pearson has been the most consistent King in the last ten days. The winger has goals in back-to-back games for the Kings and five points in his last three games. For the Maple Leads, it shouldn’t surprise you that Matthews has been hot with four goals and seven points in his last five games.
5) Both teams will go into the game on Thursday night thirsty for points. Toronto and Los Angeles are both in the thick of the 2016-17 playoff push. The Maple Leafs currently hold possession of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference leading the New York Islanders by one point. The Kings are on the outside looking in on the Western Conference’s trailing the St. Louis Blues, who have a game in hand on Los Angeles, by one point.