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The Los Angeles Kings have won two of their last three games.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have won six of seven games.
The Kings beat the Maple Leafs 4-2 in October.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Los Angeles Kings
Toronto Maple Leafs
14-10-4 (3rd in Pacific Division)
16-5-6 (2nd in Atlantic Division)
Kevin Fiala (30)
Mitchell Marner (32)
Gabriel Vilardi (13)
William Nylander (14)
Kevin Fiala (21)
Mitchell Marner (22)
Mikey Anderson (5)
Michael Bunting (12)
Kevin Fiala (2.64)
Shots (Per Game)
Auston Matthews (4.26)
Los Angeles will make the trek to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs. The Kings are in third place in the Pacific Division but could move into second with a win. The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, have a tight grip on second place in the Atlantic Division but could be within striking distance of first with a victory.
The Kings are an offensively gifted team but struggle on the defensive side and have poor goaltending. I expect them to make the Playoffs, but they will not make a run unless they bring in better defensemen or a new goaltender.
Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar lead the Kings’ offense. Fiala has nine goals and 21 assists, and Kopitar has seven goals and 17 assists. These players are far apart in age but excel on the ice. They will both need to bring their A-game in this tough matchup.
The Kings started the season with Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen as their goaltenders. However, they placed Peterson on waivers after poor play and brought up Phoenix Copley. Copley will likely not provide Los Angeles with the goaltending they need but will be better than Peterson. Regardless of who is the backup is in LA, it should be no surprise when I say that Los Angeles’ goaltending situation is problematic.
The Maple Leafs are more well-rounded than the Kings. They bring a little less to the table offensively but can still hold their own. On the defensive side, they are pretty dominant, and their goaltending duo of Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray easily ranks in the top ten.
The Maple Leafs have two stars in Mitchell Marner and Auston Matthews. Matthews is more known, but Marner has more points than him. Either way, they have combined for 62 points in 27 games and are a killer duo when playing together.
Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray make up the Maple Leafs goaltending duo. Neither of these netminders are known for being dominant, but together, they make up a top five duo. Toronto will be in a good spot regardless of who is in the net.
Bet on the Maple Leafs to win this game. They are significantly better than the Kings, playing better hockey, and have a home-ice advantage.
The Kings are not expected to win but can surprise the Maple Leafs if they play strong defense and score a power play goal.
The Kings lack quality defensemen. Drew Doughty is still competent in that role, but the rest could use some help. Regardless, they need to play better tonight and limit the Maple Leafs’ shots. If they keep Toronto under 30 shots, the Kings might have a chance.
The Kings will need offense coming from all areas and must give themselves power play opportunities. Power play goals could be the difference-maker in this matchup.
The Maple Leafs will likely win but will improve their chances by shooting 35+ times and passing to Auston Matthews.
Toronto averages over three goals a game on less than 31 shots. That is an efficient statline, so it goes without saying that if they increased their shot output to 35, they could have four goals. This is increasingly true today, as they will face one of Los Angeles’ subpar goaltenders.
Auston Matthews is a wizard with the puck and averaging over one point a game. He draws so much attention on the ice, scores, and sets up his teammates. Toronto needs to give him the puck and let him do his thing.
Viktor Arvidsson is one of the veteran forces on the Kings. The 29-year-old is in his second entire season in Los Angeles and consistently performs well. Arvidsson is coming off a two-goal game against the Ottawa Senators. He played less than 16 minutes but excelled when given the puck.
Arvidsson is probably feeling pretty good about himself and has some extra confidence after the last game. He needs to take advantage of that confidence and use it to light up the Maple Leafs. Even though he had two goals last game, he is not known for scoring, which is why he can catch the Maple Leafs off guard.
Michael Bunting is an under-the-radar player on this Toronto squad. He plays just over 15.5 minutes per game and scored only four goals. He has an impressive 13 assists, but as a whole, most of his stats do not stand out. However, his +/- of 12 is quite high.
Bunting makes the most of his time on the ice, and the Maple Leafs play well around him. He will be an x-factor today against this defensively weak Kings team.
What - New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Where - Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
When - Friday, December 8, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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