LOS ANGELES -- This was an emphatic finish, not some dribbler across the line past Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith or a puck bouncing in the net off the leg of a defenseman.
Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli, a hugely gifted scorer, made his first NHL goal something to remember in a 4-0 win against Phoenix on Monday night. The shutout was the first of the season for Jonathan Quick, who faced 27 shots. It was his 25th career shutout.
Toffoli's goal came on the power play at 8 minutes 39 seconds of the second period and he slid into prime position just below the left circle, moved forward and beat Smith up high, stick side.
Then the Staples Center crowd gave the rookie something to remember: a standing ovation.
Toffoli, who turns 21 next month, scored in just his second NHL game, and reveled in the moment, taking in the applause from the crowd and acknowledgment from his teammates. Assisting on his goal were Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll.
"It was incredible," Toffoli said of the crowd reaction. "I didn't expect that. I had goosebumps. It was a great feeling. The last game I had a couple of good chances. This one, I really wanted to put it in. I got a good bounce off their D-man and Carts made a nice play to me, and I just shot it."
Quick's shutout was sealed, in part, by a standout goal-saving play by defenseman Drew Doughty in the second period on Raffi Torres.
"He's done that a few times for me," Quick said. "He pads my stats a little bit. He's been great, doing what he's been doing since he came into this league. And every year he's a little better than he was last year. It's great having him in front of me."
Incredibly, the Coyotes have failed to score in three straight games. Their last goal came March 12 in the third period of a 5-2 win against the Kings. Since then, they've been outscored, 8-0.
Carter would eventually get his 18th goal of the season, set up by his new linemate, Toffoli. Carter's third-period wrist shot made it 4-0 at 7:33 and forced the Coyotes to pull the shaky Smith for Jason LaBarbera, a former King.
Smith was removed after giving up goals on consecutive shots in a little more than a minute to Carter and center Anze Kopitar. It was yet another multi-point night for Kopitar, who played a key role on the Kings' first goal, assisting on Jake Muzzin's sixth of the season, at 6:01 of the first period on the power play.
Kopitar leads the Kings with 27 points and at the morning skate, Kings coach Darryl Sutter talked about Kopitar's game at great length when he was asked about the NHL's Selke Award, given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
"The best all-around centerman that I've coached. Period," Sutter said of Kopitar. "Faceoffs. Last-minute. First-minute. Penalty-killer. Plays against everybody's top player, whether it's defenseman, center, checking role or offensive role."
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