How Pearson-Carter-Toffoli Line Is Hiding Los Angeles Kings’ Offensive Issues

The Los Angeles Kings rank 18th in the NHL in terms of offensive production, scoring 2.56 goals per game. That doesn’t sound very good, but it’s actually a big step forward from 2013-14, when they were one of the five worst offensive teams in hockey and were outscored by the Edmonton Oilers.

This isn’t a new trend for L.A. When the club won its first Stanley Cup in 2011-12, it did so after finishing 29th in regular-season scoring.

It’s tempting to shrug and say "defence wins championships," but that actually isn’t the case with the Kings. Los Angeles has won two championships in the last three seasons, and both times it was able to massively increase its scoring in the postseason.

In 2012, the team saw a massive 24 percent spike in its per-game offense in the playoffs. In 2014, the number was an absurd 40 percent increase. The Kings need goals just like any other team, and they’ve managed to find them in the postseason.

That’s why it’s a little troubling to note that it’s basically just one line scoring for the defending champions this season:

The trio of Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli—I’d call it That 70’s Line, but the nickname has been overused to the point that it should just go away for a while—has been exceptional for L.A. It is just one of the Kings' four forward lines, yet it's scoring three out of every four goals for the team.

Pearson alone has more goals than the rest of the forwards and defence combined.

Without that line, we’d be talking about a Stanley Cup hangover and an offensive drought in Los Angeles. Instead, the Kings are 6-1-2 and sitting third overall in the NHL as the league prepares for action on Wednesday.

Given the Kings’ history of woeful offensive production, we can’t simply dismiss this out of hand as an early-season aber...

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