LOS ANGELES CA - JANUARY 10: James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs braces himself as the net starts to fall as Alexei Ponikarovsky #27 of the Los Angeles Kings follows the action at the Staples Center on January 10 2011 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Kings Fall To Maple Leafs At Staples Center

The Kings fell to 14-7-1 at home this season.

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Kings Lose To Maple Leafs, 3-2, On Third-Period Goal

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Nikolai Kulemin scored the game-winner early in the third to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Darryl Boyce and Phil Kessel each had a goal for the Maple Leafs, who have won the first two games of a four-game road trip and four of their last five overall. James Reimer stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win.

Wayne Simmonds and Michal Handzus each lit the lamp for the Kings, who fell to 1-5-0 on an eight-game homestand. Jonathan Quick made 25 stops in the loss. The Kings got the only goal of the first period with 4:42 left in the frame. Off a left circle faceoff, Rob Scuderi sent a pass from the point to the low side for Simmonds, who skated to the front and strong-armed it home.

Toronto surged ahead in the second with two goals in a 34-second span. The first came from Boyce at the 2:27 mark when he skated into the zone and drew the puck back at the left circle before snapping a wrister through the legs of the defender and into the right corner of the net. Moments later, Joey Crabb skated behind the net from the left side, keeping the defender off of him, and from the right side threw the puck across the net to Kessel for a one-timer and a 2-1 lead.

The Kings tied the game with 5:07 to play in the second as a pass from Alec Martinez at the left point hit off the skate of Handzus and trickled through the pads of Reimer. Toronto took the lead just under five minutes into the third as Kulemin's turnaround shot from the left side snuck past Quick. A penalty to Dion Phaneuf with 1:42 to play coupled with Quick being pulled saw Los Angeles have a 6-on-4 advantage, but the team was unable to capitalize.

Los Angeles had won three of four against Toronto coming into the game. This was the only meeting between these clubs this season...The Maple Leafs play in San Jose on Tuesday...Los Angeles hosts St. Louis on Thursday...Toronto was 0- for-1 on the power play while Los Angeles was 0-for-3.

For more Kings news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Jewels From The Crown.


Kings Host Maple Leafs At Staples Center

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings finally broke into the win column on their longest homestand of the season, but tonight they must deal with a Toronto Maple Leafs squad that has been able to string together some recent road victories. Toronto, coming off its highest-scoring output of the season, aims for a fourth straight road victory this evening as it battles Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

The Maple Leafs kicked off a four-game road trip with a 9-3 rout in Atlanta on Friday. The Thrashers got the game's first goal, but Toronto responded with nine tallies in a row and scored six times in the second period alone. Nikolai Kulemin had two goals and four points, Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski both notched a pair of tallies and an assist, while Kris Versteeg added a goal and two helpers. Tomas Kaberle set up four goals and James Reimer made 41 saves as Toronto won for the third time in four games overall.

Toronto also finished 5-for-7 on the power play, scoring four times when Atlanta's Ben Eager was given a match penalty late in the second period for a sucker-punch to Colby Armstrong. Eager was suspended four games for the infraction and Armstrong was held out of practice on Sunday due to a scratched cornea. His status for this game is unknown.

"He took a bad penalty." Toronto head coach Ron Wilson said of Eager. "It was uncalled for and we managed to take advantage of it. Both games now against Atlanta our power plays have worked really well. We were persistent all night long when we needed to be." Grabovski, meanwhile, continues to be red-hot. The forward has a goal in three straight games and in 11 of his past 14. He has tallied 12 goals in that span to up his season total to 17, three off his career high.

The Kings will try to slow down the 26-year-old tonight and notch a second straight victory after ending a five-game slide with Saturday's 6-4 victory over the Blue Jackets. Los Angeles led by four at one point before allowing Columbus to get within a goal late in regulation. Jarret Stoll notched a pair of goals, while Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams both ended with a goal and an assist. Jonathan Quick made 30 saves for the Kings, who began their eight-game homestand with four losses prior to Saturday's win.

Defenseman Jack Johnson celebrated a new seven-year contract with a career high-tying three assists. The third overall pick of the 2005 draft has 27 helpers and 31 points this year and is now slated to be with the Kings through the 2017-18 season. "That's great for Jack," said Los Angeles head coach Terry Murray. "He's a young guy that's going to be a great player in this game for a long time, so it's great to get him locked up. Those young defensemen are very hard to find, the guys with skill and talent and ability like that."

The Kings, now 14-6-1 as the host, are eight points back of the first-place Stars in the Pacific Division, while the Maple Leafs sit 13th in the Eastern Conference. In the only meeting between the clubs a season ago, the Kings notched a 5-3 victory in Toronto and have won three of the last four matchups overall. Stoll, Johnson and Smyth all had a goal, while Quick ended with 25 saves in his first career start versus the Leafs.

Kulemin scored for the Maple Leafs, who have a pair of victories and a tie in their last four trips to Los Angeles. Toronto goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who hasn't played since Dec. 16 due to a groin injury, is on pace to return to action Thursday in Phoenix. Reimer will start tonight and Jonas Gustavsson may get the call on Tuesday in San Jose.

For more Kings news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Jewels From The Crown.

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