Toronto Maple Leafs: They’re Kings of the World (for a Day or Two Anyway)

William Wilson March 14, 2014 18
Dion Phaneuf celebrates a goal against the Los Angeles KingsJae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Leonardo DiCaprio (or at least the character Jack Dawson who he plays in Titanic) have something in common: they’re both kings of the world.

Kings, that is, of a world marked by grand illusion and faulty ambition. We all know how the tragic story will eventually unfold, but for the moment anyway, the Leafs are standing on top of the world.

They’re riding the waves of their current road trip through California like hockey kings. Their destination? A date with destiny in late June: the Stanley Cup Finals.

Putting the hyperbole aside, Toronto earned an important two points against the Los Angeles Kings last night. They’ve now secured four of six possible points on their way through California, which is quite the accomplishment when you stop to consider the high caliber of the local teams. The Montreal Canadiens, who completed a similar road trip last week, were only able to earn two points in California.

This will help keep the Leafs, who currently sit three points above Montreal in the Eastern Conference standings, seated at third place. The Leafs are 6-2-2 in their last ten games while the Canadiens are 5-4-1, losing their last three games.

Turning to last night’s game, the Leafs once again flexed their depth. Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel went silent, but Nazem Kadri collected a pair of assists and Mason Raymond scored the game winner on the penalty kill (what’s with all the shorthanded goals lately?).

James Reimer put forth the best performance on the night, however, replacing starter Jonathan Bernier after the first period. Reimer pushed aside all 27 shots sent Toronto’s way to earn his 11th win of the season. (Bernier left the game early due to injury, which isn’t anything major according to head coach Randy Carlyle.)

Toronto now gets two days of rest before returning to action on Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

If you ask me, they deserve the rest.

Follow me on Twitter for regular posts about sports (especially the Toronto Maple Leafs), politics and other news topics: @williamefwilson