Here are four things to know about tonight’s only NHL game involving a Canadian team:
Leafs go for 2
The Leafs have a chance to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-December when they take on the Kings at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Toronto beat L.A. 4-3 in a shootout on home ice on Dec. 14, then took down Anaheim 6-2 on Dec. 16th to run its winning streak to six games. Since then the Leafs have gone just 3-8-0, including a pair of three-game losing streaks.
The most recent was snapped on Friday night with a 5-2 home win over Columbus that gave interim head coach Peter Horachek his first victory as the man in charge of the Leafs’ bench.
Still, Toronto (22-17-3) is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. With 47 points, the Leafs trail Boston by three points for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, and must also leapfrog 49-point Florida.
Tonight’s contest opens a four-game, six-night road swing to Western Conference cities that will see Toronto face foes with a combined record of 94-52-24.
After playing the Kings, the Leafs will visit Anaheim on Wednesday, San Jose on Thursday and St. Louis on Saturday.
Pearson, Toffoli out
Toronto likely won’t have to face two thirds of the terrific “That 70s line” that helped propel L.A. to its second championship in three years last spring. Tanner Pearson broke his left leg in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Winnipeg, and Tyler Toffoli is also out indefinitely due to a bout with mono.
Pearson, Toffoli and veteran Jeff Carter, who all wear jersey numbers in the 70s, have picked up right where they left off by scoring a combined 35 goals this season, including a dozen each for Pearson and Toffoli, who are both 22 years old.
Los Angeles (19-13-10) hasn’t looked like championship material this season, and the Kings come into tonight’s contest riding a three-game losing streak that has seen them give up 15 goals.
The NHL’s stingiest team last season with just 2.05 goals allowed per game, the Kings rank 13th in that department this season at 2.52.
As a result, despite increasing their scoring average from 2.42 goals per game (26th) to 2.78 (11th), the Kings are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
L.A., though, is known for saving its best work for the playoffs. The Kings finished third in their division before winning the Cup last year, and they were the West’s lowest-seeded playoff team when they took the title in 2012.