Author: James O'Brien

Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Dwight King, Jonas Hiller

Look out: Carter, Toffoli power impressive Kings win


Tonight is Jonas Hiller’s 33rd birthday, so the Calgary Flames gave him the gift of not having to face the Los Angeles Kings’ hot offense for a full 60 minutes.

After managing a 2-2 tie through two periods despite being heavily out-played, Hiller and the Flames caved in during the final frame.

Los Angeles scored three unanswered goals to chase Hiller about eight minutes into the third period, and while the Flames scored later on to make the score more presentable, there was no question which team owned the play on Thursday.

Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli’s impressive nights stood out the most among some dominant Kings performances.

Carter collected three assists, pushing his career points total to 501 by the end of the night. Toffoli scored an absolutely sublime goal to get a hat trick:

Yeah, not sure exactly what Hiller could have done there. He ultimately gave way to Karri Ramo after stopping 35 out of 40 shots.

Sure, there were moments when the Kings’ frustrating times still showed through, even while wearing their flashy throwback duds and as they carried much of the play. Jonathan Quick’s frustrations surfaced here and there, as you can see after this goal:

Overall, the Kings looked familiar even in their unusual uniforms, as they stand as the team many top West teams hope to avoid. They’ve won three games in a row and now find themselves just three points behind the Flames (with a game in hand) in the race to lock up a wild card spot.

(The Minnesota Wild are even hotter and have one more point than the Kings in one more game played, so it’s obvious that Los Angeles has to overcome more than Calgary’s Cinderella run …)

Anyway, the Kings have a long way to go to secure a playoff spot, but they’re starting to look like that world-beating bunch yet again. It’s one sequel that few outside of Hollywood look forward to seeing …

Video: Panthers’ Ekblad knocks official down

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is having a fantastic rookie season. In a normal year, he’d probably be an easy choice for the Calder.

That doesn’t mean he is immune to making mistakes, though. The first-year blueliner bowled over an official in Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild:

There was no penalty on the play and everyone looked fine afterward, so let’s file this under good for a giggle.

It’s hard to imagine anything coming Ekblad’s way other than some gentle ribbing and a blooper reel appearance or two since it was clearly accidental. Naturally, if something does happen, it will be noted.

(And yes, the Wild winning is easily the bigger deal here, but how many times can you skin that “Devan Dubnyk is on fire” cat? In case you’re wondering, he’s still on fire.)

Video: Alexei Emelin’s big hit on Nail Yakupov


While Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers got the last laugh, they likely weren’t happy after this hit by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin:

There was no penalty on the play, but does that mean it was a legal check?

For what it’s worth, Yakupov returned to action and assisted on Anton Lander’s overtime game-winner. Emelin is a hard-hitting player, yet he hasn’t been suspended in his young NHL career.

The good news is that either way, the early word seems to be that Yakupov was able to shake it off. PHT will note if that changes, however.