The line of Milan Lucic, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli was outstanding and carried the team offensively, combining for four goals and 10 points. Lucic had three assists, Carter two goals and an assist, and Toffoli had two plus two. “Jeff Carter’s line was as good as those three guys have been all year,” Coach Darryl Sutter said. “Jeff was making a lot of plays out there and his speed was very evident, especially against a really fast team. It was good to see Tyler score from in close. He’s had trouble in-close lately scoring goals and finishing, so it’s good to score some goals….Milan Lucic was a force.” Lucic missed a few shifts in the second period after he fought Patrick Maroon, but he returned for the third period.
After scoring a total of four goals in losing their previous three games, the Kings were relieved to fill the net on Saturday. “With all the chances that we had in Minnesota and Winnipeg and not being able to bury those opportunities, we put a lot of emphasis on that heading into tonight’s game,” Lucic said. “Getting it started off right in the first 60 seconds by getting that goal, and the way that you score, goes to show how the goals are scored in this league now—banging away at the front, finding your own rebound, just getting it up and making it count.”
The Kings say they haven’t consciously let up since they clinched a playoff berth, but they’re still a ways from playing as tight a defensive game as they’d like to be playing when the playoffs start. They’ve given up 15 goals in the last four games. “For us, it was a great job offensively to get the goals and make it count,” Lucic said. “On the other end, we need to clean things up defensively. We gave up too many goals in the last four games.”
Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, the No. 1 overall draft pick, can flat-out play. He’s skilled, smart, and able to position himself well defensively, a knack few rookies have. If he hadn’t lost three months to a broken collarbone he’d likely be a sure pick for the Calder trophy as rookie of the year; as it is, he will get a lot of votes. He has 15 goals and 45 points in 41 games for a team that is stocked with scoring talent and can look dazzling at times but can look awful a few minutes later because of its lack of size and defensive depth. The rebuild continues.
Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen