The Los Angeles Kings lost their third of four games so far in the Western Conference Finals, sending them to the brink heading into Saturday’s Game 5. But not every aspect of the series has been a negative for the Kings. It just seems like it.
One of the few positives for the Kings in this series has been the play of rookie Tyler Toffoli. Getting his first taste of the NHL earlier this season, Toffoli has managed to make an impact with the Kings in the postseason, after showing flashes of being an offensive force during the regular season.
The reason that Toffoli has managed to see an increased role for the Kings during the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been the injury to Mike Richards. Richards sustained an upper body injury, which is probably a concussion, after a brutal hit from Dave Bolland towards the end of Game 1 of the series. He hasn’t appeared in a game since, leaving Toffoli with increased minutes.
Getting time with Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner on the second line for the Kings has given the Kings one of their only sources of consistent chances offensively. Outside of that line, it’s been tough going for the Kings in that area so far in the series. Toffoli has points in all three games he’s appeared in so far in the series.
In those three games, Toffoli has four points. That includes a game in which he had a goal and an assist, as well as an assist on the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the series.
We already know Toffoli has a future as an offensive force for the Kings. He’s a scoring machine, though he was unable to showcase that much during the regular season. He already has more points in the postseason (6) than he did during the regular season (5). Though the sample size wasn’t very large in either case.
The Kings have made it a point to bring Toffoli along slowly, but he’s proven in these playoffs that he’s capable of being a top six offensive contributor for the Kings in the very near future.