NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 19th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (14-14-4) at Toronto Maple Leafs (16-13-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings will try to bounce back from their most lopsided loss of the season when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs for tonight's clash at Air Canada Centre.
The Kings made a stop in Detroit on Saturday and were dealt an embarrassing 8-2 loss by the Red Wings. It was the sixth loss in seven games for Los Angeles, which fell to 1-2-0 under interim head coach John Stevens.
Stevens took over for the fired Terry Murray last week, but tonight's tilt figures to be his last game as LA's head coach. The Kings have reached an agreement for Darryl Sutter to become the team's new head coach, and he will likely be introduced on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to the team.
Sutter, who signed a multi-year contract, is still working on immigration issues, but is expected to be behind the bench when the Kings play their next home game Thursday against Anaheim. Sutter has been an NHL head coach for 11 seasons in Chicago, San Jose and Calgary, leading his clubs to 10 playoff appearances, including a Stanley Cup Final berth in 2004 with the Flames.
The Kings fell behind 3-0 before the midway point of the first period on Saturday and were never a factor after that. Jonathan Quick started in net for Los Angeles but was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on seven shots. Jonathan Bernier relieved Quick and stopped 15-of-20 shots.
"I hope it doesn't take a game like this to open some eyes," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "We got to wake up eventually. There is only so much time left in the season."
Davis Drewiske and Jarret Stoll had goals for the Kings, who have scored two goals or less in 11 straight games. LA had not allowed more than four goals in any game this season before Saturday's blowout.
The Kings are making the final stop on a four-game road trip tonight and are 6-5-3 as the guest this season.
LA defenseman Willie Mitchell could return tonight after missing the last three games with a groin injury. Forward Mike Richards (head) has joined the team on its trip, but he is still out indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs have lost two straight, four of five and six of their last eight games. Toronto has not fared well defensively in its last two losses, surrendering five goals in each contest.
The latest setback came Saturday against visiting Vancouver, as the Leafs began a three-game homestand with a 5-3 setback against the Canucks.
Tyler Bozak had a goal and two assists, while Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel also scored for Toronto, which got 31 saves from Jonas Gustavsson.
"We just have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot, too many giveaways tonight," Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said.
Kessel, who also had an assist in the loss, tied Philadelphia's Claude Giroux for the NHL lead in points with 39. Giroux is currently out indefinitely with a concussion.
The Maple Leafs are 7-5-3 as the host this year and have lost three of their last four in Toronto.
Toronto has taken two of the last three meetings with the Kings, but LA has four victories in its previous five trips to the ACC.
12/19 10:36:28 ET