Kings' 'Kid Line' continues to impress in Western Conference Finals
MAY 25, 2014 1:47a ET
LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Carter and the kids have commanded the attention of everyone in two cities and two ice rinks through three games of the Western Conference finals.
The Kings' fourth line, also known as the 'Kid Line' or 'That 70s Line' as all three wear numbers in the 70s, have combined for nine goals and 16 points in the last four games. With rookies Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli on the wings and the veteran Carter at center, the line boasts a trio of pure goal scorers that have wreaked havoc on the Western Conference in the postseason.
"They're rollin, eh?" said Kings' defenseman Jake Muzzin. "It's clicking right now. They've got a bunch of speed and a bunch of skill and they're working hard. They've got some chemistry going. Tic-tac-toe plays and little plays around the net. They kind of know where each other are, so they were huge for us tonight."
Toffoli's goal in the second period of Saturday night's Game 3 gave Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville fits. Carter chipped a puck up to Toffoli who split two Chicago defenders in the neutral zone and stuffed the puck under the pad of Corey Crawford.
Their speed and ability to crash the nets is dangerous, yet immensely fun to watch at the same time.
"Getting pucks deep and getting lots of pucks to the net and creating traffic, you can't score goals unless you get the puck on net and drive to the net," Toffili said. "If you look at our goals tonight, it's cut into our system and we're executing well right now."
The line emerged late in the season. It's been effective throughout the postseason and now any coach would be crazy to dismantle it. Aside from his speed up the middle, Carter brings a veteran presence both on the ice and the bench with the two rookies following his lead.
"Carts is a pretty easy guy to play with," Pearson said. "He's a big centerman that can skate very well and put the puck in the net."
Just don't call him an old man. The rookies know a little better than that.
"I think we kind of look at him for advice if anything," Pearson said. "Not trying to rag on him that he's older than us."
Their chemistry is obvious and their excitement contagious.
"I'm having fun, this is incredible," Toffoli said. "Obviously, as a young guy you dream of being in the Stanley Cup playoffs and the past three games have probably been my best three games of the playoffs."
But they can be serious too, he insists. Because after all, it's not fun if you're not winning.
"We're having fun because we're being successful right now," Toffoli said. "If we're not being as successful we're going to tighten up and try and bear down a little harder. But the way things are going now, we're just rolling with it."