It wasn't pretty, but what matters is the two points. The Maple Leafs defeated the LA Kings 3-2 with goals from Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarsson, and Mason Raymond. Unfortunately for Johnathan Bernier, his highly anticipated return to the team that drafted him was cut short by a "lower body injury." On the bright side, James Reimer, who did not play well against the Sharks, took over and played like his former self!

So, how should us fans feel about this game? This game in particular was important based on the standings and self pride because this was the conclusion of the dreaded California trip. This win solidifies 2nd secured spot in the Atlantic Division, and it results in something that most teams in the East have failed to do this season: have a winning record on the California roadtrip (2-1-0 for the Maple Leafs). After this game, the Leafs reach 80 points on the year. This equals the points accumulated in 2011-12, otherwise known as the 18 wheeler going off a cliff season!

This game became a win for the Maple Leafs for the following reason:

1) The Goalies were perfect (almost)

When Bernier went down with an injury and Reimer took over, most fans were probably thinking "Oh no, here we go again!" But, fortunately for the Leafs, Reimer found his form that helped reach the playoffs last season and made some key saves. Oh and by the way, both goalies absolutely robbed Anze Kopitar on two seprate occasions!

2) Secondary Scoring

Once again, the top line seemed to be quiet (again) and could not provide the goals for the Maple Leafs. It should come as no surprise that the defense helped provide the ginnos at important moments of the game, since goals from the defense have picked up. Raymond, early in the third, sealed the deal with a shorthanded goal. Let's hope that every line provides offense in the playoffs!

3) The Penalty Kill and Blocked Shots

Minus the snipe from Kopitar on the first penalty, the penalty kill was once again a major factor in making a difference. On top of that, Tim Gleason and Paul Ranger helped provide timely blocks against the Kings struggling power play. Although the Leafs did not win a high percentage of the faceoffs, if the Leafs didn't kill those penalties and not have as many blocks, this game could have been a completely different one.

As I predicted in the preview for this game:
" It is gonna be a close game, and the difference will be by one goal" 
I am happy to report that not only was my prediction correct, but that Leafs won! The score count is: Right-1 Wrong-0.

The next game is a Sunday meeting against the Washington Capitals as the road trip continues. Hope to see you then!


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