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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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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Tyler Toffoli status for L.A. Kings next game? Definitely maybe

Tyler Toffoli skated with his Kings teammates Tuesday for the second consecutive day after getting medical clearance after suffering from mono. He said he would like to play in Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, but the final decision would be a group one. Toffoli said he would speak to Kings coach Darryl Sutter and the team’s medical staff and then a decision would be made.

“I feel good,” he said. “I did some battle drills today. I was trying to push myself more than I usual would the day before a game. I was trying to just get my legs under me. It’s been a long couple of weeks. The first week or so I didn’t do a whole lot. I did a bunch of bike rides. I wasn’t really allowed to do anything. The whole process went by smoothly. I think we’re all going to talk and see how I’m feeling and they’re going to tell me. … It’s more my legs and getting my legs under me.”

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L.A. Kings forward Tyler Toffoli hopes to play Wednesday vs. Blackhawks

Tyler Toffoli hasn’t played since coming down with mono after the Kings’ loss to the New York Rangers on Jan. 8 at Staples Center. He resumed skating with his teammates Monday and said he hoped to be fit to play in Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center.

“We’ll see,” Toffoli said. “It’s the first time I’ve skated with the guys. I was a little tired. We’ll see tomorrow and then Wednesday. I got tested Friday, blood and ultrasound and stuff. It was all good there. I’m not sure if I’ll have any setbacks. Hopefully, I’m feeling good.”.

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L.A. Kings recall J.F. Berube from minors, place Tyler Toffoli (mono) on IR

The headline says it all. What we don’t know at the moment of this typing is what precisely is wrong with backup goaltender Martin Jones, who didn’t participate in the Kings’ morning skate Saturday. Coach Darryl Sutter told reporters Jones was ill, but it’s believed Jones is injured. The Kings avoided making a public announcement by recalling J.F. Berube from Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League and placing forward Tyler Toffoli (mono) on injured reserve. No mention was made of Jones in the team’s press release, which is their choice.

More later. Maybe.

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L.A. Kings statistical oddity for a Tuesday morning

The Kings haven’t been outshot in a game since Nov. 29, when the Chicago Blackhawks did it to them 25-20 during a 4-1 victory at Staples Center. They were tied in shots on net 25-25 during a 5-2 loss Dec. 16 to the St. Louis Blues. But otherwise they have outshot everyone since that game against the Blackhawks. Monday, they outshot the Toronto Maple Leafs 20-19 in a 2-0 victory.

“It still doesn’t add up for us because if you’re just going on analytics we’re right at the top,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We should have more (wins). It doesn’t really add up. We’re going to have to get better at it because with the goals out of our lineup (Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, in particular), and a bit of inexperience at our back end, we still have to find a way to get better.”

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Darryl Sutter talks about replacing ill Toffoli and injured Pearson in L.A. Kings lineup

Kings coach Darryl Sutter was asked Monday morning how the team would fill the void created by the absence of young wingers Tyler Toffoli (mono) and Tanner Pearson (broken left ankle). He had a simple answer: “You don’t.”

Sutter also said: “They’re very important players on our team, not just numbers guys but a very big part of our puck possession game, our penalty-killing game, all that. You don’t replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys who are either bitching about ice time or guys who you have to move out of position a little big or veterans who just have to give you a little bit more.”

Toffoli was diagnosed with mono Friday and Pearson was hurt Saturday.

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