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Kings' Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner get it done

Line composed of the young center and the two veterans comes through with three assists in Tuesday night's win over the Blackhawks.

June 04, 2013|By David Wharton and Helene Elliott

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The day began with bad news, the Kings learning that they would have to play another crucial game without center Mike Richards.

That put the onus on a revamped line that combined the young Tyler Toffoli with veterans Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner.

And with the Kings so badly needing a win in the Western Conference finals, those three came through, supplying three assists — and some high-energy shifts — in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

BOX SCORE: Kings 3, Chicago 1

"We have a good chemistry going right now," Toffoli said. "Just to keep it simple. Their defense is pinching a lot, so just get pucks out and try to get us some scoring chances down low."

Toffoli has a goal and two assists in the two games since he was inserted in the lineup.

He threaded a pass to Slava Voynov for the second goal Tuesday.

Given that Richards has a history of concussions and has yet to recover from a hard hit late in Game 1, Toffoli's replacement stint might continue for a while. Carter has been impressive in shifting over to center.

"The thing about Carts, it doesn't look like he's skating fast and then you realize he's gone," captain Dustin Brown said.

The veteran provided inspiration of another kind, taking an angry high stick to the face from Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith.

The blow required dental work afterward, but he returned to the ice to help set up a clinching empty-net goal in the final seconds.

"Obviously I wanted to give him a tap but not where I got him," Keith said. "I felt bad."

Panel's visor vote

Hours before Tuesday's game, players and team executives who make up the league's 10-man competition committee recommended that players who enter the league starting next season must wear visors.

Under the recommendation, which must be approved by the NHL Board of Governors, current players will retain the choice of wearing a visor or not. The grandfathering process is similar to the way helmets were eventually made mandatory.

"We were able to get a consensus. It was the first time since we've been polling players that we've had a clear majority that wanted it grandfathered in," said Mathieu Schneider, an executive of the NHL Players' Assn. "We feel very comfortable with where the players stand on this."

The governors will meet later this month. Before that, a committee will work on transitional rules for visor use. Visors are mandatory at every level up to the NHL, but many players remove them when they reach the league, some contending that visors obscure their vision.

The competition committee also said it would form a subcommittee to review and make recommendations on equipment for goaltenders and skaters, including shoulder and elbow pads. In addition, all four-minute high-sticking penalties will be subject to review.

Two experiments will be conducted during exhibition play next season, one with hybrid icing and another with slightly shallower nets.

Kings stand tough

A big part of the Kings' success on Tuesday night was a result of more efficient play in the neutral zone, but much of the talk after the game focused on the way they roughed up the Blackhawks.

"We got some hits on their key guys, which we didn't get a lot of in previous games," Brown said. "It's not one or two guys, it's guys on every line, every [defensive] pair."

The Kings recorded 36 hits to 26 for the Blackhawks, according to league statistics.

"We kind of got flat-footed and we were watching each other too much,"

Chicago center Jonathan Toews said. "When you're standing still, you are an easy target for them to come hit you."

Twitter: @LATimesWharton

Twitter: @helenenothelen

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