It may have taken 20 years, but the Kings have finally exercised the demons of their only other home game played on New Year’s Eve.
On that fateful night back at the Forum in 1991, then-goalie Daniel Berthiaume gave up five unanswered goals to the Vancouver Canucks in the third period – resulting in a 5-3 loss. This time around, the Kings flipped the script. They gave up the first goal of the game and then followed with markers of their own by Brad Richardson, Matt Greene, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams.
The Kings are now 4-0-2 under coach Darryl Sutter and after things were over, here’s what he and a few stars of the night had to say…
Sutter on the overall game – “We’ve been playing pretty good. If you get a chance like the Chicago game or the Winnipeg game there are a lot of steps that we’ve tried to make and tonight there was contribution from different guys which was really good.”
Sutter on Kopitar – “He scored a big goal and that makes him feel good again. He’s been struggling with scoring but he’s getting a lot of shots and that’s what we’ve been trying to re-enforce, keep shooting. We had two or three of those plays. Mike Richards had that same type of play. I thought [Jarret] Stoll’s line had a lot of those opportunities, too, and the kid’s, [Andrei] Loktionov’s line. They’re all good.”
Greene on the overall game – “We’ve been having success on all four lines. That’s what we did. We got a big goal out of our third line tonight and that’s what it takes sometimes…They score and then we get one right away. That’s a confidence boost knowing that they’re not going to push us back and we’re going to keep going.”
Greene on team confidence – “I think it’s still a work in progress but we’ve been having some success over the last little bit with Darryl [Sutter] coming in and this was a good game for us obviously but we’ve got to keep going. We can’t rest on this game.”
Greene on the changes under coach Sutter – “The mechanics? Not too much. I think it’s just kind of a different attitude right now. We kind of needed a little change and that’s what we got. He’s getting a lot of good play out of a lot of guys right now.”
Greene on Kopitar – “Maybe you guys have been making a big deal out of it, but he’s been doing everything for us. He hasn’t been scoring but he still logs 27 minutes of ice. He plays well. He does everything. He’s on the ice in every situation. If you ask a guy in here if his play’s dipped at all I don’t think so. It’s just he’s not finding the back of the net and for him to do that, that’s great, but he’s been the best player throughout the whole year.”
Kopitar on his goal and the overall game – “It was big. Always when you go through struggles like that it feels good when you get it off your back. Not better place and time to do it, I guess, than [against] Vancouver. It was a huge win for us and we need those two points and end this year on a good note…I thought overall tonight the second period was good for us and that’s what we have to build on and play like that.”
Kopitar on beating Vancouver – “t says we have a lot of character. We can definitely do it. Now it’s just a matter of doing it night in and night out. That’s what Darryl [Sutter]’s pushing for us. We have to recognize it and build on this win and get going.”
Practice is scheduled for 11:30am tomorrow at the Kings training facility in El Segundo.
Quotes from the Canucks locker room – where captain Henrik Sedin was not in a good mood – can be found at the link below.