-The final shot on goal discrepancy last night favored Los Angeles, 41-29. The Kings attempted 83 shots to the Maple Leafs’ 43 attempts. This was due largely in part to a strong final 30 minutes of the game, at least when shots on goals and scoring opportunities are considered. For the first 30 minutes, however, the game was more of a demonstration of Los Angeles being opportunistic than executing its rock solid possession game, and it’s interesting that if the full 120 minutes of action between these teams this season are considered, it was Toronto that probably owned a slight edge in possession and scoring opportunities, thanks largely to a quality Leafs performance during an L.A. win earlier in the year. To be fair, the Kings’ game at the Air Canada Centre in December came on the second night of a back-to-back set. But the Kings, the league’s top possession team, experienced mostly a wash in possession in the season series against one of the league’s least proficient possession teams. The Maple Leafs’ -8.7 shot on goal differential is the NHL’s worst. Of course, this is basically window dressing. It was a tied game in the third period, the Kings were on the power play with an opportunity to regain the lead, and this column would have taken a vastly different approach had the Kings not lost track of the puck following a spectacular James Reimer save on Anze Kopitar that led to Mason Raymond’s shorthanded right circle blast past Jonathan Quick. Credit James Reimer for entering the game well prepared to play, and Toronto for a quality showing against Los Angeles this season. The Maple Leafs are a better team than what many of their underlying statistics indicate.

181114561NG012_LEAFS_KINGS.JPG

-After acquitting himself quite well in the first five post-Olympic games, Dustin Brown didn’t really distinguish himself against Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto, and his 10:12 of ice time last night represented his lowest total since 2005-06 in any game he was available for the full 60 minutes. His ice time has dropped in part because of a lack of special teams opportunities. Dating back to the Stadium Series game against Anaheim, he has received a total of 22 seconds of shorthanded time over 14 games. Hits are a stupid stat affected by a team’s time of possession – and several of the Kings’ best possession games of the season came on the recent road trip – so any reference to his “lack of hits” over the last three games is a weak argument. But since the win over the Jets, the King-Stoll-Brown line hasn’t really stood out consistently, and it’s not a good thing that Darryl Sutter referenced the line as being “tired” last night. “Tired” is the adjective he used to explain why he scratched Dustin Penner for a game last season. It will be interesting to see if Sutter stays with this line on Saturday and gives it an opportunity to rebound from several indistinguishable performances, or if he looks to change things up, perhaps by giving Tanner Pearson an opportunity on the left wing.

181114561HH00011_Toronto_Ma

-Thursday clearly marked the best performance of the season by the alignment of Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Gaborik is gaining the chemistry with his teammates and has shown through four games a knack of using speed and force in driving to the net, and Kopitar could have had a hat trick if it wasn’t for a collection of saves on Grade-A opportunities by Jonathan Bernier and Reimer. Really, much of the analysis above is moot. If the Kings hadn’t been facing one of the top goaltending tandems in the league – Bernier and Reimer have combined for a .918 save percentage, tied for fourth in the league – and a duo that made a handful of spectacular saves on Thursday, they could have put three or four goals on the scoreboard, which would have won them the game.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Los Angeles Kings

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

VIEW ALEC MARTINEZ POSTS
Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS