The Kings have won only five of 20 road games this season, and the players are aware of it. It’s a frequent topic of conversation when reporters enter both home and road dressing rooms.
Los Angeles opens up a five-city trip tonight in Boston and will face the Bruins, who have points in 17 of 20 games, the Capitals, who are 13-5-5 at home, and the Lightning, who lead the Eastern Conference with both 66 points and a plus-31 goal differential, as well as the Panthers and Blue Jackets, who are fighting to work their way into the playoffs.
“I’m not putting as much pressure as an all-or-nothing trip, but it’s certainly an important trip for us,” Justin Williams said. “We’ve broken segments down and we need to start getting some road wins.”
Momentum doesn’t necessarily carry game-to-game, though the Kings are looking to build off one of the season’s stronger efforts. In the come-from-behind win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, Los Angeles rallied three times from one-goal deficits and scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third period by getting pucks and bodies to the front of the net.
Tyler Toffoli, who recovered from a bout of mononucleosis and returned after a six-game absence, instantly generated chemistry with linemates Dwight King and Jeff Carter. They were dangerous on their early first period shifts all the way through their third period equalizer.
“I was just trying to bring as much energy as I could throughout the whole game,” Toffoli said. “Obviously I’ve played with…Carts for a little while and Kinger a couple of years ago, too. I think we all knew where the chemistry was going to be and we found a way to work hard and get some goals.”
“I think we made a lot of little plays. Coming out of our zone, we were coming with a lot of speed whether it was coming off the wall or clean break outs coming through the center. Obviously Carts is such a good skater. When he’s going it’s pretty easy to have clean break outs because he’s so quick. I think we just did those things right and we just need to keep moving forward and keep doing that.”
So, is there momentum heading into tonight’s game, given the way the team broke out of the post-break starting gate?
“Maybe, if you used it as springboard, yeah you can make that argument,” Williams said. “We just need to start rolling together, collecting wins and throughout this road trip we need to do that. We need to do that tonight. So on the first game of a road trip, you win the first one and then you can start rolling and get on a groove. That’s when we’re at our best, when we’re rolling.”