It’s not uncommon for a nickname to grace a line of forwards that brings excitement, success, and character to a team. A special trio is needed to grace a custom moniker, though, and of course with help from the creativity of the fan base.
The play of Jeff Carter, Tanner Pearson, and Tyler Toffoli has caught not only the attention of hockey fans in Los Angeles, but fans and media across the entire league.
Carter, Toffoli, and Pearson have started the season on a tear, are the top three scorers on the Kings roster, have combined for 34 points through the first nine games of the season, and have accounted for 17 of the team’s 23 goals scored so far.
Those numbers alone deserve some sort of labeling, but it’s their uniform numbers that provides the perfect touch to what has become a wildly popular nickname for the group.
When Jeff Carter was traded to the Kings on February 23, 2012, Carter scrapped the ‘7’ he wore in his time with the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, upping to the rather flashy ‘77’ numeral.
As in the case with youngsters Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, who wear ‘73’ and ’70’ respectively, they’re simply playing with the numbers they were given upon reporting to training camp. Assigned numbers to rookies are usually odd, high in number, and are usually changed by the player once they've solidified a roster spot.
The two, who had the option to choose their own number at the beginning of this season, have chosen to don the numbers they were handed when they started with the organization, the numbers that have helped create the league’s most popular line nickname.
This isn’t the first time, though, that the Kings have had a trio of forwards who have earned a byname from the team’s media and fan base.
L.A.P.D. LINE (2001-'02)
During the 2001-2002 season, forwards Jason Allison, Ziggy Palffy, and Adam Deadmarsh were tabbed as the “L.A.P.D.” line, combining “L” with the players’ last name initials (APD) in reference to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The group would combine for 195 points during the 2001-’02 season, scoring 80 goals and registering 115 assists.
Like Carter, Toffoli, and Pearson now 10 games into the season, Allison, Palffy, and Deadmarsh led the Kings in scoring that year; Allison with 74 points (19G, 55A), Deadmarsh with 62 points (29G, 33A), and Palffy with 59 points (32G, 27A).
The Kings, who finished third in the Pacific Division that season with a 40-27-11-4 record for 95 points, lost in seven games to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Jason Allison only played 26 games the following season, while Adam Deadmarsh only played 20 games. Both players suffered from concussions symptoms, breaking up the chemistry the line worked with during the 2001-'02 campaign.
TRIPLE CROWN LINE (1979-1984)
From the the 1970’s through the early 80’s, Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, and Dave Taylor were anointed the “Triple Crown Line”, hitting the league by storm when they were put together as a line midway through the 1979-'80 season, combining for 269 points.
The following season, their first full year together, they combined for an astounding 328 points, but the Kings finished fourth-worst in the NHL in defense that season, and the Kings were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders.
During the 1980-'81 season, the trio eripted, becoming the first line in NHL history to hgave all three members record at least 100 points in a single season. Dionne registered 135 points (58G, 77A), Taylor with 112 points (47G, 65A), and Simmer with 105 points (56G, 49A).
The Kings made the playoffs once again on the backs of this tremendous line, but were eliminated in the first round by the New York Rangers when Kings goaltender Mario Lessard finished the series with a 5.45 GAA.