Tyler Toffoli had a breakout year in his second full season with the Kings, racking up 49 points (23G, 26A) in 76 games played during the 2014-’15 campaign.
Toffoli, the third-youngest player on the Kings’ active roster, older than only Nick Shore and Tanner Pearson, finished last season third in the team in points scored, behind only Jeff Carter’s 62 and Anze Kopitar’s 64.
The young sniper’s 23 goals were also the third-most registered on the roster, behind only Marian Gaborik’s 27 and Jeff Carter’s 28.
The big story revolving around Toffoli’s goal-scoring in 2014-15 was his knack to find the back of the net while shorthanded – the 23 year-old managed to put up a whopping five shorthanded markers, the most of any Kings player during a single season since the late Pavol Demitra also recorded five during the 2005-06 season.
To put things into perspective, Toffoli scored more shorthanded goals (5), than power play goals (3).
That's not normal.
Toffoli’s first shorthander of the season came in what was only the Kings’ fourth game of the campaign – a 6-1 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers on October 14 at STAPLES Center.
It was also arguably the Kings’ most impressive, gorgeous, and magnificent goal of the season. Toffoli’s wondrous solo-effort gave the Kings a commanding 3-0 first period lead.
And baby, we were just getting started.
Five games later on October 28, the Kings on the road in Philadelphia, Toffoli hopped on a botched pass that the Flyers’ power play mishandled, and walked in alone on Ray Emery to knot the score at 1-1 midway through the first period.
Two games later, and three days later…again?
We’ve got a trend brewing here.
In the Kings’ only visit to Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena in 2014-’15 on October 31, Toffoli struck while shorthanded yet again. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, in an attempt to keep Detroit’s power play in flow, discarded of a momentary frozen puck. Toffoli, not giving up on the play, hopped on the loose puck among four Red Wings’ players, then finished the play by knocking home a rebound off of a Robyn Regehr shot.
After a six-game, 16-day hiatus from scoring while shorthanded, Toffoli struck again on November 15 against the Anaheim Ducks at STAPLES Center. Toffoli got possession of a loose puck in the Kings’ zone and sped off on a two-on-one with Jarret Stoll
Stoll fed Toffoli as they entered Anaheim’s zone, and the young gun swiftly fired a wrist-shot high past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at 1-1 midway through the second period. The Kings would eventually win the game in OT.
It would be some time before Toffoli buried his fifth and final shorthanded goal of the season, in what would be the Kings’ final game at the New York Islanders’ Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 26.
With the score tied at 1-1 early in the third period, Jake Muzzin dug a puck out of the corner in Toffoli’s direction. Toffoli, with Jeff Carter, turned on the burners through the neutral zone on a two-on-one sequence. Carter fired a shot that caromed off of Jaroslav Halak’s right pad and onto the stick of Toffoli – who hammered home the rebound to give the Kings a 2-1 lead in a game they would eventually win 3-2.
Toffoli’s shorthanded marker on March 26th was the final one to be scored by an opposing player in the 43 years the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum housed the New York Islanders - which closed after the season ended.