One of the topics at the Kings’ practice on Sunday was the performance of Tyler Toffoli during Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Toffoli was 20 years old when he posted five points in 10 regular season games last season and 21 years old during a playoff run in which he recorded six points in 12 games and earned a mostly regular spot in the lineup once he made his postseason debut in Game 5 of the St. Louis series. After seeing his playing time decrease late in the San Jose series, he became a teen-minute player in the Chicago series after earning regular usage when Mike Richards was concussed by a Dave Bolland hit late in Game 1.
He posted a goal and three assists in four games while lining up to the right of Jeff Carter during the Chicago series and logged a career-high 16:32 of ice time in the in the double overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Game 5.
Though Carter is currently on injured reserve, Toffoli stepped in alongside Daniel Carcillo and Mike Richards and recorded an assist as part of a career-high 19:23 of ice time, which included 17 minutes of even strength play and 2:23 spent on the power play. Only Drew Doughty, Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar saw more time on the power play.
“I thought it was good,” Toffoli said of his personal performance. “I mean, it’s obviously good to be back and everything, but it sucks to lose, and I don’t think it really matters how somebody plays when a team’s not winning.”
He also weathered a stick in the face right off the opening faceoff – one of two unpenalized high sticks that he shook off – from Rich Clune, a friend and former Manchester Monarchs teammate.
“He said ‘sorry’ on the ice, but I wasn’t too happy with it,” Toffoli said.
“I just wanted to play. I mean, obviously when you get hit in the face it’s not fun, but there were no cuts. Just had a couple of cuts in my mouth, but that’s the way hockey goes.”