The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping to stay in the win column as they take on the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday. The club is beginning a three-game homestand with games against Vegas on Thursday and Philaelphia, after which they play eight of their remaining ten games in the month of November on the road.
The club will be getting a couple of key players back in the lineup, as center John Tavares and defenseman Jake Muzzin make their return.
Tavares missed seven games and nearly three weeks with a broken finger and is sufficiently recovered to resume his place between Trevor Moore and Mitch Marner and in the middle on the Leafs top power play unit, which has gone 2-for-23 (8.7% - 30th in the NHL) since he was injured.
“I felt really good. I made pretty good progress and I’m ready to play, so I’m excited to get back at it.” Tavares said on Tuesday morning. “We want to get better and be a little more consistent with our play and that will lead to some results and lead to some momentum and get the ball rolling.”
The club won 4-3 in a shootout in Philadelphia on Saturday and take on a Kings team one point out of last place in the Western Conference (5-9-0), who broke a four-game losing skid with a 4-3 overtime victory at home on Saturday.
Muzzin missed one game after suffering a leg injury on a hit from Washigton’s Tom Wilson one week ago and will play against his old team for the first time since being traded last January.
“(The Kings) flew in early on Sunday. We went out for dinner Sunday night. I still talk to a lot of the guys. Not much has changed.” Muzzin said about reuniting with his old teammates. “(I learned) a lot of lessons on the ice (in LA) and away from the rink. We had a good veteran group, so you learn a lot as a young guy coming up in that atmosphere. I just try to help the guys (in Toronto) when I can.”
The Leafs announced before the optional morning skate that they had recalled forward Nic Petan from the AHL Toronto Marlies. Petan scored five points in two games last weekend, including two goals and two assists against Belleville on Saturday. The 24-year-old will replace winger Dmytro Timashov at left wing on the fourth line with Nick Shore and Frederik Gauthier.
“We like what (Petan) has done the whole time. We like that he’s worked hard. He didn’t ask to go down (to the minors), but he wanted to play and we wanted to get him in.” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “He gets a good opportunity tonight, we’ll see how it goes.”
Veteran center Jason Spezza and defenseman Martin Marincin will be healthy scratches along with Timashov, but Babcock went out of his way to say that they were not removed because of any bad performance.
Frederik Andersen (7-2-2) will make his 12 start of the season and is expected to go in all three games of the homestand with a day of rest in between. Jonathan Quick (2-6-0, 4.55 GAA, .858 save %) will be in goal for the Kings.
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