"Don't get too excited," you might be telling yourself. "I know that Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter, and Tyler Toffoli are dominating right now, but they've played Arizona, Winnipeg, and Edmonton. Can they keep doing this against, you know, really good teams?"
The proper response is, "Shut up and enjoy the show." Because without Marian Gaborik and Jake Muzzin, the Los Angeles Kings threw six goals on the board against the Oilers, and that infamous line led the charge.
Before we get to the offensive surge, let's highlight a couple of the noteworthy tidbits from last night. Mike Leggo was honored for refereeing his 1000th game. Darnell Nurse made his NHL debut for the Oilers and got a healthy eighteen minutes of ice time. Andy Andreoff did the same for the Kings, and because he's an excitable rookie, he dropped the gloves with Matt Hendricks on his very first shift. Mike Richards took on first-line duties with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, picked up a power play assist, and didn't look out of his depth.
Oh, and how about Jonathan Quick's performance? It was obviously overshadowed by the fireworks from up front, but Quick was terrific in net. Though he lost his focus (and his shutout) on a hilariously soft goal in the final minute, Quick stonewalled the Oilers as they generated a number of quality chances in the second half of the game. Of course, the game was pretty much out of reach for the struggling Oilers, but Quick made sure it stayed that way. After a rough start to the year against San Jose, Quick has put together two quality performances.
Now, then. To the goals. You've probably already seen slow motion; poor Mark Hunt tries to stop Toffoli from entering the zone and getting a shot off, but Toffoli dangles it just out of his reach before whipping a shot above the right shoulder of Viktor Fasth. Fasth only lasted 15 minutes in the Oilers net, though Dallas Eakins left him long enough to stop shots by Andreoff and Robyn Regehr... and tweak a groin muscle. Hooray for a Ben Scrivens appearance!shorthanded goal, which was a joy to watch in real time. It might be even better in
Before that all happened, Jeff Carter opened up the scoring on what has become a familiar routine. Toffoli and Pearson went hard on the forecheck; one (Pearson) freed the puck with a check, the other (Toffoli) grabbed the puck and set up for a pass. Carter went to the front and one-timed Toffoli's feed past Fasth, and on the second shift, all three guys were already on the board. The second goal of the period came 1:15 after that, when Anze Kopitar fed Justin Williams on what was technically a 2-on-1. Edmonton caught up quick and Williams didn't appear to have much of the net to work with, but he found a couple inches of space on the far side and buried it.
The third line of Jarret Stoll, Dwight King, and Dustin Brown once again handled the bulk of the defensive zone starts and didn't get much going on offense, but they did have one fine moment in the second period. It mirrored the Kings' first goal, though with a bit more flair; Stoll made the hit to get the puck lose, King smartly maneuvered behind the goal line and flipped the puck to the crease, and Brown knocked it in out of mid-air. Pearson got his goal 25 seconds later, and it happened quickly. The forecheck worked its magic, Carter got the puck loose from Benoit Pouliot, and Pearson whirled around and wristed a shot into the top corner.
It's a three-game goal streak for Pearson, and if Tyler Toffoli had scored on that breakaway at the end of the Arizona game, it'd be a three-game goal streak for every member of that line. Pearson added a power play goal (LA's first of the season) in the third period for good measure, and Quick, Doughty, and Jones were able to laugh about Hendricks' goal coming off the ice. (Though Quick's was an exasperated laugh; he was 20 seconds away from tying Rogie Vachon's team shutout record.) It was supposed to be an easy game for the Kings, and they made it look like one.