If the Kings are winning, a certain coach gets edgy. So now that the Kings have won three straight games for the first time since mid-November, Coach Darryl Sutter was in predictable form. That, and a few more takeaways as the Kings pulled within three points of a wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Toffoli has found his form again
The touch, confidence and conditioning have returned for the kid with the goal-scoring knack. Right wing Tyler Toffoli missed six games, starting on Jan. 10, because of mononucleosis and now has scored in three straight games.
He had four points against the Flames, including his first career hat trick.
“I think he came back from his mono and had a really good couple of games and then he probably hit the wall a little bit again,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “And then the last three or four, I think him and the line have carried us. Jeff Carter himself probably could have, what, five goals tonight."
Speaking of Carter …
Carter had been away from the team for a couple of days in Canada this week, attending funeral services for his grandfather near London, Ontario.
Like Sutter said, Carter could have had several goals and was denied by Flames goalie Jonas Hiller on a breakaway, via a shorthanded bid.
Toffoli was talking recently about Carter’s big-game ability and it came through again on Thursday. Against Chicago, Carter had two goals and recorded three assists against the Flames.
His best has come through when it counts.
“We've been in these games before, a lot of them in the last couple of years,” Carter said. “Not a lot needs to be said in this room. I think when you look around the room before the game you could tell everybody was ready. Everybody realized what tonight was about. It was a big one for us.”
Dwight King holds down his place on That 70s Line
Suddenly, The Line is back
But it is slightly reconfigured with more power on the left side, via Dwight King. King, taking the spot of the injured left wing Tanner Pearson, has scored multiple points in back-to-back games.
Carter gave an overall assessment of the line.
“It was good,” he said. “We've been trying to work from our end out, and the team as a whole, I think it's been coming along especially at the end of the road trip we saw it paying off for us.
“Tonight, Tyler had a big game. He plays the right way and makes plays in our end and that translates into goals for him.”
Fun with Sutter and the numbers game in the Western Conference
Sutter is often more expansive when the Kings are mired in a long losing streak. Post-game, he got a little annoyed when he was asked how many games the Kings need to make the playoffs.
This was their 54th game of the season. Calgary, which has played 53 games, hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, and the Kings trail the Flames by three points. Minnesota is ahead of the Kings by a single point.
“We've got to win the next one,” Sutter said. “Jeez, you guys. you can only get points at a time. How the hell do I know how many points you need?
“Christ, if we lose the next one you're going to say we're playing [lousy] again. It's tough to make the playoffs. How many times have I said that. I said it before the season, it's going to be tough to make the playoffs.”