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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Here’s what Kings center and leading scorer Anze Kopitar told reporters after the team went into the All-Star break with a 4-2 loss Wednesday to the San Jose Sharks that left them in ninth place in the Western Conference (and out of a playoff spot) with a 20-15-12 record: “We’re disappointed in where we are in the standings right now. “We have to take the next few days to figure that out. It’s time to play desperate coming out of the break.”
The Kings gave up two power-play goals to the San Jose Sharks in three shorthanded situations during a 4-2 loss Wednesday at the SAP Center, continuing a troubling trend going into the All-Star break. The Kings’ penalty-killing unit is 25th in the 30-team NHL at the break with a lackluster 77.8 percent success rate. For a team that prides itself on hard work and a blue-collar attitude, that’s truly hard to believe. Penalty-killing is often about goaltending, as Kings coach Darryl Sutter will tell you, but it’s also about hustle and desire and also staying out of the penalty box. The Kings average 10.4 penalty minutes per game, ranking as the 12th-most penalized team in the league, and that’s a problem if their PK is not good enough.
“We have to do a better job in certain areas,” Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr told reporters Wednesday. “Tonight, the penalty kill, you can’t afford to give up two power-play goals against and really expect to win too many games, especially on he road. It’s a tough hole to dig yourselves out of when that happens.”
Defenseman Robyn Regehr sat out for 12 games after breaking a finger during the Kings’ victory Dec. 18 over the St. Louis Blues. His return to the lineup Monday was welcomed by the Kings, but it wasn’t exactly a winning reunion. The Kings suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. Regehr couldn’t make it through the opening shift of the game without getting hurt. He deflected a puck into his lip and was forced to the dressing room for immediate repairs.
“It felt really good to get back out on the ice again,” Regehr said after he played 18:26, recorded a team-leading seven hits and was on the ice for both of the Flames’ goals. “It’s never fun when you’re injured and have to watch the games from the stands or underneath (in the dressing room). As players, we want to be out there playing and trying to help the team win and also be involved with the teammates. So, it felt really nice to be doing that again.
“There was a little bit of a transition there for me. I had a rough start in the first shift, with deflecting the puck into my lip, but I managed to get back into the game a little after that.”