Since their disappointing 2-4-1 start to the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won 11 of 13 games, clamping down defensively, allowing two goals or fewer in nine of the past 11 games.
Goaltender Jack Campbell leads the league with a .944 save percentage and returns to Los Angeles to face the team that traded him to Toronto. Defenceman Jake Muzzin is another ex-King who will be playing his first game back in Los Angeles. The Maple Leafs also recalled winger Kyle Clifford from the AHL. Clifford is a former King, too, but is not expected to be in the lineup.
Toronto continues to struggle in terms of generating 5-on-5 offence. Their 1.95 goals/60 during 5-on-5 play ranks 27th, which seems absurd given the talent on this roster. The Maple Leafs generate a lot of shots and chances but until those pucks start going in the net, it will be a point of concern.
After the second 10-game segment of the season for the Maple Leafs, I graded their forwards, defence, and goaltending. The grades are improving from earlier in the year.
Mitch Marner has taken the Maple Leafs’ scoring lead, with 17 points (6 G, 11 A) in 20 games.
Ritchie – Matthews – Marner
Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander
Engvall – Kampf – Kase
Bunting – Spezza – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Sandin – Liljegren
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are not a high-scoring team, either, but they did beat Toronto 5-1 on November 8 in Toronto.
The Kings have been trying to deal with some injuries on the blueline for much of the season and it looks like a former Maple Leafs prospect, Sean Durzi, will make his NHL debut Wednesday.
Durzi was a second-round pick by the Maple Leafs in 2018 and was part of the package that the Maple Leafs sent to the Kings to acquire Jake Muzzin. Durzi was off to an outstanding start in the American Hockey League this season, with 16 points (5 G, 11 A) and a plus-13 rating in 13 games.
The Kings showed when they were in Toronto that they do have improved speed up front and that could pose a challenge for the Leafs.
At the same time, the Maple Leafs should be able to create more offensively than they mustered during the last game against Los Angeles. The Kings are winless in four, scoring a total of seven goals while going 0-2-2.
Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 17 points (8 G, 9 A) in 18 games.
Here are expected lines for the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday:
Kempe – Kopitar – Arvidsson
Iafallo – Danault – Athansiou
Moore – Kupari – Brown
Lemieux – Lizotte – Kaliyev
Edler – Roy
Bjornfot – Anderson
Maatta – Durzi
Toronto Maple Leafs (-155) at Los Angeles Kings
This is not an insignificant price to pay for a road favourite, but the Maple Leafs have been on a pretty good run, with 11 wins in the past 13 games, even though one of those two losses came against the Kings. That might be enough for some revenge. Given the way the Leafs have been winning lately, the under should be in play, too.
Watch on Sportsnet and listen on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.
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