Don’t be surprised to see the NHL playoff scoring race settle with five Kings at the top in the coming two weeks. If Tyler Toffoli or Dustin Brown or Tanner Pearson get hot, they can make it an even half dozen…never before accomplished.
It’s hard to believe the once offense-challenged Los Angeles Kings are on the verge of doing something never before accomplished in Stanley Cup playoff history. No team has ever occupied the top six spots in the playoff scoring race. That’s something within the Kings’ grasp this spring. On three separate occasions, the top five spots have been occupied by one team’s players, but never six. For it to happen, there are a few ifs. • Marian Gaborik needs two points and Justin Williams three in the final series against the New York Rangers to pass Chicago’s Patrick Kane, the top-scoring non-King with 20 post-season points. • Drew Doughty needs at least five points in the final series to pass Kane. • One of Tyler Toffoli, Dustin Brown or Tanner Pearson will need to get hot with eight or more final series points to pass Kane, and outscore Martin St-Louis of the Rangers in the final.
Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter sit 1-2 in playoff scoring with 24 and 22 points. Sitting right behind Kane is Gaborik with 19 points and Williams with 18. Everyone else in the top-14 playoff scorers is out of the playoffs except Doughty. Toffoli and St-Louis are tied in 15
th with 13 points apiece.
Los Angeles’ new-found offense is nothing new in the post-season. The Kings were 29
th in scoring during the 2011-12 season with 2.29 goals per game. They bumped it to 2.85 in the playoff and won the Cup. The Kings were 26
th in regular season scoring this season at 2.42 goals per game. L.A. is first in the league during the playoffs at 3.48 goals per game. The three teams to finish one through five in playoff scoring over the years are:
1969-70 Boston Bruins: Phil Esposito, 27 points; Bobby Orr, 20; Johnny Bucyk, 19; John McKenzie, 17; Fred Stanfield, 16.
1956-57 Montreal Canadiens: Bernie Geoffrion, 18; Jean Beliveau, 12; Maurice Richard, 11; Dickie Moore, 10; Bert Olmstead, 9.
1920-21 Ottawa Senators: Frank Nighbor, 4; George Boucher, 3; Cy Denneny, 2; Punch Broadbent, 2; Eddie Gerard, 1. If you’re wondering about the high-scoring Edmonton Oilers during their dynasty years, they twice finished one through four in league playoff scoring, including a tie for fifth.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN