Perhaps, as the Montreal Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli says, maybe playing left wing isn’t so bad after all. At least, Toffoli hasn’t minded the change from being a right-winger being a left-winger thus far this season.
When the Canadiens shifted him from the right-wing to the other side, it was new to him; however, he seems to be adjusting well – very well indeed. Toffoli just keeps on producing for the Habs, no matter where he plays.
Tonight a Short-Handed Goal Against the Calgary Flames
Tonight, as the Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames 4-2, Toffoli played on the right-wing. So, he’s moving around some – but it still doesn’t matter. He scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway with 25 seconds left in the second period to send the Canadiens into the locker room leading 4-0. The Flames mounted a bit of a comeback, but not enough, and the Canadiens remain undefeated in regulation this season.
Toffoli is playing so well that he was named the NHL’s Player of the Week, and he has now scored six goals and three assists in his last five games and is a plus-8 in that stretch. How well is Toffoli playing? Well, compared to last season where he scored 24 goals in 68 games with both the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks, he’s already one-fourth of the way there.
Toffoli Was a Value-Added Signing
During the offseason, the Canadiens signed Toffoli as a UFA to a four-year contract worth $17 million over that span. He’s producing at a healthy clip. By the way, when Toffoli tries to explain his success so far, he notes: “It helps that we’ve been playing in the other team’s zone a lot. The biggest adjustment is coming in off the rush and trying to find the open lane through the seam.”
Oh, and by the way, Toffoli is playing left-wing on the line centered by Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Toffoli praises the youngster for helping him start well this season. (from “Canadiens’ Toffoli makes seamless transition to new team, position,” Pat Hickey, Montreal Gazette, 27/01/21).
Already, a List of Toffoli Successes
Toffoli has had a number of successes so far this season. Just last week, he was named the NHL’s first star of the ending January 24. He scored five goals and eight points during the four games he played in that stretch and helped lead the Canadiens to a 3-0-1 record.
Toffoli registered a hat trick during the team’s 6-5 shootout loss on the road against his former team the Vancouver Canucks. Although he came into the game without a goal and only one assist, playing against his old team got him going.
Over the Canadiens’ long history, he’s only the third-ever Canadiens’ player to score a hat trick on the road against Vancouver. The other Canadiens were Frank Mahovlich (on Oct. 22, 1971) and Guy LaFleur (on Dec. 17, 1971).
Toffoli Reminds Brendan Gallagher of Michael Ryder
New teammate Brendan Gallagher suggests that Toffoli reminds him of former Montreal Canadiens’ forward Michael Ryder.
Gallagher noted, “They’re definitely very similar. The way they play the game, even their skating stride, their shots. It’s kind of eerie. I definitely see the similarities, for sure.”
Gallagher play with Ryder when he returned to Montreal during the 2012-13 season. Canadiens’ head coach Claude Julien also suggests that Toffoli and Ryder both have a similar shot. The two also wore the same jersey No. 73. (from “Canadiens newcomer Tyler Toffoli a true throwback,” Stu Cowan, Montreal Gazette, 22/01/21).
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