Count the Tampa Bay Lightning among those impressed by the L.A. Kings recent play

Here’s Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle talking about the play of the Kings, who defeated his team 3-2 on Saturday and by 4-2 on Feb. 7: “They are opportunistic. That’s the way it’s going to be from here on out. If you want to win in the playoffs in March and April, those teams are going to be opportunistic. It’s a lesson learned, hopefully, and we’ll figure out what we can do. Give them credit …”

Here’s more from Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson: “They wait for you to make those mistakes and then they capitalize on them. That’s what they did. I thought we played a pretty good game. It’s just unfortunate that the mistakes we did make, they capitalized on.”

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Capitals coach Barry Trotz talks about the change in the L.A. Kings play

Less than two weeks ago, the Kings got thumped 4-0 by the Capitals in Washington. The Kings then beat the Capitals fairly handily 3-1 on Saturday at Staples Center. What changed? a reporter asked Washington coach Barry Trotz.

“They did a good job,” Trotz said of the Kings. “A lot of credit goes to them. They came in, put pucks deep, hung onto them and really grinded it out. We didn’t have enough urgency in our game. They had a little more urgency throughout the game and we had too many people who weren’t as urgent as they were.

“At the end of the day, you’re not going to beat these guys like that. They know how to win and they got some timely saves ahead of our push there when we scored (in the third period) and we hit the post right away. But we didn’t have enough guys on their A game, that’s for sure.”

 

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Meet That 70s Line 2.0, the line that’s been carrying the L.A. Kings

Tomorrow’s notebook lead today …

The good news for the Kings is a line centered by Jeff Carter is carrying the team again, leading it to three consecutive victories. The bad news is a line centered by Carter is carrying the team again, leading it to three consecutive victories.

Carter and wingers Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli ignited a 6-1-1 start to the season for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. Now, with Pearson sidelined by a broken leg, Dwight King has joined Carter and Toffoli, and if the Kings are a one-line team again, then so be it.

Meet That 70s Line 2.0.

Toffoli recorded his first NHL hat trick and added an assist in the Kings’ 5-3 victory Thursday over the Calgary Flames. Carter had three assists and King had one goal and one assist in the pivotal third period, when the Kings broke open a close game.

Thursday’s game had the look and feel of a Kings contest from October, when That 70s Line ran wild. It was a short-lived hot streak for the three players with uniform numbers in the 70s, and the Kings came crashing to earth and, ultimately, out of a playoff position.

When coach Darryl Sutter shifted King onto the line with Carter and Toffoli, things began to click offensively again. Maybe it’s the uniform numbers. After all, King wears No. 74 on his jersey, joining No. 77 Carter and No. 73 Toffoli.

Whatever it is, the Kings couldn’t have won Thursday without That 70s Line.

“We’ve been trying to kind of work from our end out, the whole team,” Carter said of his line’s standout play during a three-game winning streak. “I think it’s been coming along, especially near the end of the road trip we saw it paying off for us. And again tonight.”

Toffoli, in particular, was superb against Calgary.

“He came back from his mono and had a really good couple of games and then he probably hit the wall a little bit,” Sutter said, referring to a bout of mononucleosis that sidelined Toffoli for six games last month. “Then the last three or four games, I think he and the line have carried us.”

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L.A. Kings forward Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick by numbers … one day later

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tyler Toffoli became the first Kings player since Anze Kopitar on Oct. 22, 2009 to record a hat trick before his 23rd birthday. Toffoli was 22 years, 296 days and Kopitar was 22 years, 59 days. Toffoli also became the first Kings player to score three goals in a regular-season game since King had a hat trick during a 7-4 victory Oct. 24, 2013 over the Phoenix Coyotes. Carter had a hat trick in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals last May 21.

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Jeff Carter talks about the play of L.A. Kings teammate Tyler Toffoli

Veteran center Jeff Carter had this to say about the play Thursday of Kings linemate Tyler Toffoli, a 22-year-old winger who has had his ups and downs this season, including a bout with mono that sidelined him for six games last month:

“I think he’s been doing a really good job at (striving for consistency). Obviously, there’s going to be ups and downs. I think we’ve all had streaks where the puck hasn’t been going in for us. Tyler is real strong in front of his own net and plays the right way.For a young guy, it’s pretty impressive. He battles on the walls and plays the puck to the centermen, and that makes my job a lot easier. He gets offensive from that (paying attention to the defensive end of the ice first). He gets it.”

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L.A. Kings forward Tyler Toffoli talks about his first NHL hat trick

Here’s what Kings forward Tyler Toffoli said after scoring three times in a 5-3 victory Thursday over the Calgary Flames: “It was pretty exciting and a personal accomplishment, but at this time of the year, it’s huge to get wins. This was our third straight and we’ve got to keep rolling. We’re a pretty tight-knit group here and individual stats don’t really mean a whole lot. We just want to win games.”

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L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s quote of the day

Darryl Sutter. (Photo/Dustin Snipes in Los Angeles Magazine)

Darryl Sutter. (Photo/Dustin Snipes in Los Angeles Magazine)

 

Here’s Kings coach Darryl Sutter talking Wednesday morning about “the process” and whether it’s working again after victories in the last two games of the team’s five-game trip: “We’ve been an exceptional home team and a not exceptional road team. Basically, we come home now for three again, and work at that.”

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Struggling L.A. Kings in quotes (part 2)

Here’s center Anze Kopitar speaking to reporters about the Kings’ road struggles after they fell to 5-11-6 away from Staples Center with a 4-0 loss Tuesday to the Capitals in Washington: “We just don’t have the intensity and the emotion that we did in the past, and we’re going to have to have in the future. At the end of the day, we’ve got to win games. It doesn’t matter how we do it. If it’s 1-0 or 5-4, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got to get the two points.”

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Struggling L.A. Kings in quotes (part 1)

Here’s Kings captain Dustin Brown talking to reporters Tuesday after a 4-0 loss to the Capitals in Washington: “it’s starts with our emotion. … We’re a good team, but it’s hard to win when you don’t play with enough emotion. That’s on an individual level and a collective level. We need everyone to be invested in the game emotionally, and from there we can work on X’s and O’s and all that, but emotion first. I think it’s just a matter of getting yourself ready to go. I think it’s an individual’s responsibility to play every night, then it’s helping our team. If he’s not ready, it’s one of those things where everyone has off nights,but the emotion can always be there and the work can always be there.”

Strong stuff from the captain.

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Numbers continue to fall against the L.A. Kings

Good morning, Kings. Taken a glance at the NHL standings Wednesday morning? Yes, that’s you in 12th place in the 14-team Western Conference. How did you get there? Look to the right. That 5-11-6 record on the road after Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Capitals in Washington helps to explain your predicament. So does that minus-2 goal differential. Wow, that really is not like you. So does that 2-5-3 record in your last 10 games. At some point, it’s not a trend. It’s who you are.

“We need to get better,” Kings captain Dustin Brown told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. “There’s plenty of time to do what we need to do, but right now it’s in our hands. We still have time to control our destiny. We can’t let it drag on to the point where you have to rely on other teams winning and losing games.”

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