NHL names L.A. Kings winger Tyler Toffoli the second star for last week

Kings forward Tyler Toffoli recorded four goals and six points to lead the team to three victories last week. The NHL took notice and named Toffoli the second star of the week. His week was highlighted by his first three-goal game in the NHL during a 5-3 victory Thursday over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also had an assist for a career-best tying four-point game. He became the first Kings player under 23 to record a hat trick since Anze Kopitar on Oct. 22, 2009. Toffoli has 18 goals and 36 points going into Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks was the first start and goalie Pekka Rinne of the league-leading Nashville Predators was the third.

 

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Coach Darryl Sutter passes Larry Robinson for fourth place on L.A. Kings all-time wins list

Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Darryl Sutter won his 123rd game as coach of the Kings when they defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 on Saturday at Staples Center. Sutter moved into sole possession of fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list, passing Larry Robinson.

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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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Pregame reading: L.A. Kings Tanner Pearson talks about his broken ankle

Tanner Pearson talked at some length Saturday about his broken left ankle, bunking at Anze Kopitar’s house for a while, touring the White House on crutches and trying to get back into the lineup in time to help the Kings as soon as possible.

“He approached me before and asked me if I wanted to stay and I was kind of too stubborn at the time to say, yes, and then my parents gave it to me pretty good about not being able to stand on my own,” Pearson said of accepting Kopitar’s invitation to stay while he was hobbling on crutches. “At the last minute, I decided to go to his house. I stayed four or five days.”

Pearson said he ditched the crutches two days ago.

“Making progress, taking it day by day,” he said.

Pearson has been walking and riding a stationary bike.

“Just walking, you get moving again,” he said. “It takes time. It’s nice because you can see the improvements. That’s a good thing. Things are looking positive. Honestly, I have no idea (of a timetable). It’s tough to say. It’s a whole different thing when you put your foot in a skate. It takes time. Right at the start, it doesn’t feel 100 percent in the skate, so you have to get used to that, too.”

Pearson said he wouldn’t have missed the White House trip for anything.

“I probably wouldn’t have (traveled), but with the White House … ” he said, smiling broadly at the memory. “It was nice to be with the guys rather than sitting at home doing nothing, watching TV. I was moving around the while trip. It was kind of a pain lugging bags around and being on crutches.”

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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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Morning reading: A look at the L.A. Kings from the Great White North

Typewriter

Damien Cox of Canada’s sportsnet.ca, one of the best in the business, offers a few thoughts about the state of the Kings leading into the March 2 trade deadline. It’s worth a look. Here’s the link: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/deadline-decisions-can-kings-afford-to-boost-blueline/

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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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