The gap between the Kings and the San Jose Sharks in the standings grew to 18 points Monday night. It didn’t appear to be that big of a disparity for much of the night.
The Kings had a good start, got another steady game from Jack Campbell and a solid showing from Drew Doughty and Derek Forbort on the back end. The scoring opportunities were there but never came to fruition in a 3-1 loss at SAP Center.
It was a typical Kings-Sharks close matchup that, in the end, reflected where both teams are just past the halfway point of the season.
Here’s what we learned:
Tyler Toffoli looked lost
The winger has generally muddled through a down season offensively, and he made at least two poor plays late in the game Monday. His pass to keep the puck in the zone from near the blue line did not connect, and he elected to pass into Jeff Carter’s feet with the puck on his stick in the slot.
Though there’s ample blame for underachievement on the Kings, Toffoli’s seven goals through 44 games grows more noticeable, and Monday was even more puzzling after he scored last Saturday.
It must (not) be Luff
Coach Willie Desjardins stuck with the same lineup as the previous game, which meant that rookie Matt Luff sat out again.
Desjardins said before the game that Luff should be an NHL regular but “he’s just seemed to have lost it a little bit lately” and needs to work harder.
“But, he’s an NHL player,” Desjardins said. “He just has to get himself back going like he can go.”
Luff shouldn’t be this complicated. A big part of the remainder of the Kings’ season is the need to grow and develop their younger players, some of whom, like Luff, have shown the offense the team needs.
In other words, perhaps Luff should not be lost.
Martin Jones still likes playing the Kings
The numbers are difficult to ignore: Jones is 11-3-3 in 17 regular-season games against his former team. His performance Monday was typically steady, maybe even a quiet-like 22 saves, although his stop on Adrian Kempe in the third period was big.