Tyler Toffoli hasn’t earned a point since his Saturday return in Philadelphia – the team has scored only once since he rejoined the team after missing 20 games while recovering from a lower-body injury – but was on the right side of the puck in the win over the Flyers and the loss to the Capitals. With a plus-six shot attempt differential during five-on-five play in Philadelphia and a plus-eight differential in Washington, his play was representative of the team’s ability to play in the attacking end in both of those games, even though Los Angeles took one on the chin and lost 5-0 on Sunday. Those differentials fall in line with his season-long Corsi-for percentage, which ranks 13th in the league amongst qualifying players at 56.8% entering tonight’s game at Tampa Bay (4:30 p.m. PT / NBCSN / KABC 790 / I Heart Radio).
Darryl Sutter was also encouraged by what he saw in his young sniper’s return.
“I thought he was really good both games,” Sutter said Monday. “He had some great opportunities both games, and probably a little bit of back to back, there was probably a little bit of fatigue. It’s not easy just coming in and playing back-to-back. You’ve been off two months, you can practice all you want. He’s fine. He said he felt good.”
Toffoli rang a puck off the crossbar against the Flyers and nearly opened the scoring against the Capitals, though Philipp Grubauer extended his left pad to make a strong kick save before Lars Eller scored quickly upon Washington setting up shop deep in Los Angeles’ zone in the ensuing sequence.
“I thought I was getting some good chances,” Toffoli said. “I’ve just got to get back to finding those soft spots where I feel like it was really a big part of my game and get shots through and just be a little quicker with the puck.”
Tyler Toffoli, on any surprise at how quickly he was getting chances after his return:
I mean, it’s obviously pretty easy, I’m pretty fortunate to be playing with the guys that I play with, Carts and Pears. They’re obviously really good skaters and can get to a lot of those pucks and when they’re doing that, I need to try and get open and like I said, if I can get there and be quick and get my shots off and get ‘em through, then we’ll get chances to score and make plays.
Toffoli, on returning after missing 20 games for the first time in his career:
I felt better than I thought I was going to feel, to be honest. I thought my legs were there and I had some good energy it’s just like I said, a matter of just being quick and making those little plays that you have to make and the plays that I’m good at.
Toffoli, on whether the third or fourth game back will be tougher than the first or second:
I think it’s just a little different situation this time because playing a back-to-back, the first game I definitely had the adrenaline but the second game was, you know it’s tough, especially in the afternoon games, too. You have to be focused and everything, so I think that definitely helped me mentally knowing that they’re back-to-back games and you’ve got to come out and you’ve got to play the best you can, and Philly I thought obviously we played well as a team and Washington wasn’t a very good game for us. I’ve just got to keep my legs going, keep my feet going and just make good things happen myself.
Toffoli, on what he remembers from his NHL debut:
I mean, I was really nervous. I was up for a long time, though, just skating with the guys and being around them, watching the games. It was definitely an exciting time for myself and I think anytime you see somebody come in and play their first NHL game and be a part of that is a pretty cool thing, too. [Paul LaDue is] a great player and he showcased himself pretty well in training camp. I thought he had a really good camp and I think he’s ready.