Here’s what Jeff Carter had to say about playing with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli after their line propelled the Kings to a 4-3 victory Saturday night in Game 3 and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series: “It’s been great. Obviously, they have a lot of chemistry playing together in Manchester (of the AHL). They’re working hard and they’re having fun. They use their speed and skill to create opportunities. Kind of dragging me along with them, so it’s been good.”
Pearson: “I think everyone is stepping up all at once and knowing the job we have to get done. Tonight, we succeeded in that again. … We’re definitely rolling pretty good, but we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal. We’ve got to keep on going, each and every game. We’re capitalizing on our chances and it’s working out.”
Toffoli: “I’m having fun. This is incredible. Obviously, as a young guy, you dream of being in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the past three games have been probably my best three games of the playoffs.”
The Kings recalled forwards Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Linden Vey from their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., on Wednesday. They also returned to the practice rink in El Segundo to resume workouts. They were without six of their Olympians, however. Anze Kopitar and Slovenia and Slava Voynov and Russia were eliminated in the quarterfinals Wednesday in Sochi. Canada’s Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter will face the U.S.’s Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown in the semifinals Friday. The Olympic break continues until Feb. 26 for the Kings, who return to action with a visit to Denver to play Colorado.
The Kings re-assigned goaltender Martin Jones and forward Tyler Toffoli to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., for the Olympic break. The team also recalled goalie J.F. Berube. Jones won his first eight NHL starts and is 8-4-0 overall with a 1.71 goals-against average for the Kings. Toffoli has 19 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 38 games for the Kings. Berube has a 19-13-2 record and a 2.43 goals-against average for Manchester.
The Kings tweaked their roster Wednesday by recalling forward Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Jeff Schultz from their American Hockey League affiliate at Manchester, N.H. They also re-assigned forwards Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey to Manchester. Toffoli has 17 points, including nine goals, in 33 games with the Kings so far this season. Schultz has played 41 games with Manchester, recording seven points (one goal, six assists). Pearson has one goal in eight games with the Kings. Vey has five assists in 15 games so far with the Kings.
Sometimes the headline tells the whole story, sometimes it doesn’t. This is one time when it does. Tyler Toffoli wasn’t producing, so the Kings sent the 21-year-old forward to their minor-league affiliate at Manchester, N.H. Toffoli had 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 33 games for the Kings this season. But he also has an 11-game drought without a goal and he scored only once in his last 16 contests. He was the face of the Kings’ recent scoring woes. They haven’t had a goal from a third- or fourth-line player in about a month. They have scored only one goal in each of their last two games, a win over Vancouver and a loss to Detroit.
Injuries to forwards Jeff Carter (foot), Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Jarret Stoll (upper body) left the Kings will no choice but to recall Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli and Linden Vey from their American Hockey League affiliate at Manchester (N.H.). The three rookies have made their impact in recent games, but some have been more impactful than others, according to Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The Kings turned in a lackluster first 40 minutes Thursday, falling behind the New York Islanders by two goals at Uniondale, N.Y., before rallying behind third-period goals from defenseman Slava Voynov and rookie forwards Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli to pull out a 3-2 victory. The Kings have secured three points out of a possible four so far on their four-game trip. Here are three things about the Kings’ victory over the Islanders:
1. Coach Darryl Sutter was forced to ice a lineup that didn’t include forwards Jeff Carter (broken foot), Kyle Clifford (concussion) and Jarret Stoll (upper body), plus defenseman Matt Greene (upper body) and goaltender Jonathan Quick (groin). With the Kings playing as if they were stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, Sutter turned to Pearson, Toffoli and Linden Vey for some energy in the third period. The coach teamed the three rookies together, hoping their experience as a top line with Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League would aid them. Pearson scored the tying goal and Toffoli supplied the go-ahead score, with only 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the third. So, that worked well. You can expect to see them together again. Often. The Kings’ trip continues with games Friday against the New Jersey Devils and Sunday against the New York Rangers.
2. Ben Scrivens has a chance to show the Kings and their fans that the club didn’t get swindled in the offseason trade that sent backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scrivens and forward Matt Frattin went the other way. Quick is out for up to six weeks because of a groin injury suffered Tuesday in the Kings’ shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres, so Scrivens should have plenty of time to prove his value. Scrivens had 23 saves in the Kings’ come-from-behind victory over the Islanders, keeping them within striking distance while they were outplayed during the first two periods. Martin Jones will serve as his backup for the time being.
3. Slava Voynov continues to impress and amaze. He kick-started the Kings’ comeback with a goal from a sharp angle off a pass from below the goal line by Anze Kopitar. There’s more to the young defenseman’s game than scoring, though. The puck seemed to be following him around the ice in the third period, when the Kings wrestled control of the game from the Islanders. Voynov isn’t the biggest player in the Kings’ defense corps. He’s not their best puckhandler. He’s certainly not their most experienced player. He continues to make smart plays that help the Kings win games, however. It happens at both ends of the ice, too. He’s not a one-trick pony, which is why his value to the Kings will only increase as he logs more and more ice time. He’s trending in the right direction, in other words.
Here’s what 22-year-old rookie Tyler Toffoli had to say after scoring two goals and adding an assist in the KIngs’ 5-1 victory Saturday over the Vancouver Canucks:
“It was good. We wanted to have a really solid game. Tonight was was good night. I tried to get open and tried to rip it and (Mike Richards) made two unbelievable passes to me tonight. I think it’s the same as last time (after being called up last season). I’m trying to earn my spot on the team. I’m trying to stay in the lineup. We’ll see how things go. It sucks (being one of the last cuts coming out of training camp). You don’t want to be playing in the American Hockey League. You want to be playing in the NHL. I went down there and it took a little time to adjust to hockey again, I guess. I just started heating up again.”
Here’s the updated version of tonight’s romp by the Kings …
Rookie forwards Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli are in nearly the same predicament with the Kings. Despite posting some eye-catching statistics with Manchester (N.H.) of the AHL the last few seasons, there simply haven’t been any job openings with the Kings, who have a veteran roster that’s been remarkably stable.