Game 42: Kings can't continue forward progress

Rob Scuderi #7 and goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings combine to stop Fredrik Sjostrom #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Staples Center on January 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Ryan Smyth #94 of the Los Angeles Kings attempts to get past Tomas Kaberle #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Staples Center on January 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Game 42: Maple Leafs 3, Kings 2

There are.... no words.

• AP: Leafs hold off Kings 3-2 for 4th straight road win
Staples Center was filled with mostly nervous fans—except for those hundreds of blue-jerseyed Leafs supporters at Toronto’s first visit to Los Angeles since December 2008.
• L.A. Times: Kings continue to waste homestand
The Kings began the second half of their season much as they skidded toward the end of the first half -- with sloppy defensive play, a lack of discipline and an ugly loss at home.
• Kings lose to Maple Leafs 3-2  
This season-long eight-game homestand would be the Kings' panacea. It would lift them out of their doldrums, give them a nice cushion heading into a tough stretch of February games and serve as the spark for a playoff run in the second half of the season.
• Leafs beat L.A. for fourth straight road win  
The Kings began the second half of their season in a tie for ninth place in the Western Conference -- not exactly where they hoped to be after leading the overall NHL standings earlier this fall. Los Angeles held a brief players-only meeting after the game. 
• Toronto Star: Leafs win third straight, 3-2 over Kings
Kings winger Wayne Simmonds, of Scarborough, opened the scoring by embarrassing Phaneuf with a move out of the corner. Simmonds simply powered past Phaneuf, went cross-crease and beat Reimer for a 1-0 lead, the only goal of the first period.
• Toronto Sun: Leafs earn third straight win
The Kings are also in a traffic jam in their conference with four points separating eight teams and L.A. holding on to eighth by virtue of regulation wins.
Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Nikolai Kulemin (41), of Russia, gets the puck by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, center, of Slovenia, and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32) for a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, in Los Angeles. The Maple Leafs won 3-2. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)They said it
“I think it’s definitely at stake. I don’t think it’s out of reach. There’s a lot of hockey to be played. We need to figure out what we need to do here, and turn it around. There’s a lot of hockey to be played, but this homestand was really important. We definitely let the opportunity slip by, playing at home.” – Dustin Brown, on whether it feels like the season is slipping away.
“I was in Pittsburgh, and both years that we went to the Finals, we were a .500 team through mid-January. There’s no panic in here, but there has to be more desperation. I’m not worried about the standings right now, but we are certainly digging ourselves into a huge hole. This homestand was a chance for us to move up in the standings, not down.” – Rob Scuderi, on whether he feels the season slipping away.
"Every game is a must-win, from here on out. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We’ve got to play well. We’ve got to win. We’ve got to win these games. Everybody is winning around us, and we’ve got to keep pace. We’ve got to excel. We’ve got to gain ground. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Every game is a must-win, from here on out." – Matt Greene, on the Toronto game being a must-win.
“I don’t want panic, that’s for sure. I want to play the game the right way for 60 minutes. We know how to do it for 40 minutes, 45 minutes, but we’ve got to get it done for 60 minutes. … I don’t like that word [desperation] either. I don’t like desperation and panic and all that stuff. It comes down to doing things with confidence, executing with structure and system and team play. We know how to do it. You’ve got to go out and do it.” – Coach Terry Murray, on potential panic and desperation.

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