Dec 11, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Joffrey Lupul (19) goes past Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (10) at Air Canada Centre. The Kings beat the Maple Leafs 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs outshoot Los Angeles Kings, still lose 3-1

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a tough matchup against the Kings on Wednesday night by a final score of 3-1. The Leafs would dominate the game, out-shooting the Kings 40-24 and kept undefeated Kings goalie Martin Jones busy. But, in the end, costly penalties and timely goals by Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford would send the Leafs packing with their second straight loss. Cody Franson would have the lone Leaf goal as he one-timed a Phil Kessel pass for his first of the season on the power play. Jonathan Bernier would make 29 saves in the loss.

Paul Ranger-Mark Fraser pairing costs Leafs 

What seems to be a constant in the Leafs past few games is the pairing of Paul Ranger and Mark Fraser, two players who have not performed to the expectation that people thought coming into the year. Paul Ranger, missing the better part of three years in the NHL, just cannot find his form and got beat on multiple rushes that included a terrible pinch late in the game that Jeff Carter capitalized on the game-winning goal.

Bernier solid in not so busy outing 

In what was his first game against his former club, Bernier stood tall (despite his soft goal on the two-on-one), stopping 29 shots in the loss. He kept the Leafs in it like he has for most of the season. But as the Leafs continue their tough December schedule, you have to wonder how much gas Bernier and James Reimer have in the tank before a 6-0 game shows up.

Leafs have to make most of tough matchups 

With games against some of the top NHL teams, the Leafs really needed the two points tonight. They have lost three of their last five games with the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins all coming up. These few games could make or break the Leafs season given the new playoff format so losses like tonight hurt the club.

This might be the toughest stretch of games for the Leafs so every game counts, starting in St.Louis tonight. You can catch the game on Leafs TV at 8 PM ET or listen live on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

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Tags: Cody Franson Jeff Carter Jonathan Bernier Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs

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