Following the Kings 3-2 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night, here’s what LA coach Todd McLellan had to say…
On adjustments at the Second Intermission to create more offense
Well, we flipped some lines around a little bit, retool those. I thought we got more aggressive in the third period, we had nothing to lose so we kind of went after them a little bit more. Our power play moved it around with a little more authority than it did earlier in the game: quicker, firmer, and as a result we got a couple but it’s still what we’re giving up that’s concerning and a lot of it’s coming from penalties again.
On the play of Trevor Moore, and moving him to Kopitar’s line
A little bit of a spark. I thought Trevor, the last two games, has skated really well and I thought [Kopitar], that line needed a little more pace, so we went there with Trevor and [Dustin Brown] fit the other line, the third line, quite well too. We’ll see where we are tomorrow with those, we’ll watch it again and figure out what we’re doing moving forward.
If this game is harder to accept than the Minnesota games because of the high number of penalties
No. The second game against Minnesota, the last one we played was a tough one to swallow. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot right from minute one on. Today, we were behind the eight ball a little bit the first seven to ten minutes, we hadn’t played at that pace yet and we were caught watching and standing around. I thought as we started to skate with this team and allow ourselves to have some confidence and keep up with them, we were okay. Obviously the penalties are are a huge part of what’s going on with our team right now and there’s not a magic wand, there’s nothing we can do other than take individual responsibility for some situations and it’s a little disappointing, but we’ve got to keep working at it. Our family kill was really good until they scored a couple, but it’s inevitable when you’ve got that type of power-play on the ice for six power plays in a game, that they’re going to eventually put a couple in.
On the play of Lias Anderson and Carl Grundstrom, and the Fourth Line as a whole
Well, when you take six penalties, often the line that gets shot the most for it is the fourth line. They probably didn’t get enough ice time tonight, we’re coming from behind and killed six penalties so that that hurt that line. I like Lias’ competitiveness. I thought he was on pucks and they made some nice plays down near the goal line to the net in a few shifts situations. Lias got to penalty kill a little bit, so that was a good thing as well, so some good nights there.
On where he thinks the team is at compared to preseason expectations
I think what we look at our game look at it five-on-five. I’m comfortable where we’re at in those situations. I think we can be cleaner, I think we can be a little quicker, better execution, but we’re not giving up as much as we did the beginning of last year, so that’s a good spot to be in. Special teams, I’m still not completely happy with the power-play, I think there’s work that needs to be done. The penalty kill up until this point’s been good. For me, it’s still the mental and game management situations that really have to get polished up. You can look at the penalties and there’s maybe one that’s arguable, the Carter penalty, whether or not it was a good call, the rest it’s not even close. We’ve got to find a way to get around that and stay out of the box. You only have to go back to the outdoor game last year when we started to really play well and got on a bit of a roll. We didn’t give a Colorado a single penalty in that situation. It allowed us to stay in the game, tonight it took us out of the game.
On the Kings forecheck
I think it needs to be better, but it needs the opportunity to better. It’s really hard to create any type of rhythm in a game when you’re killing six penalties off in a night. We’ve gone six, five, and six [penalties in our first three games], so until we really keep it to two or three — I don’t expect us to be perfect, but I certainly expect this to be better in that area. I’d like to see our team when we can roll four lines consistently and there’s a bit of a rhythm for each and every player. Right now, we’re overtaxing players and underplaying others. Until it gets fixed, it’s gonna be that way.
On how much the first goal, from Athanasiou, fired up the team
Obviously it gave us a chance, a sense of belief. Before that, we had had limited grade-A chances that weren’t going in. When he scored, the bench perked up a little bit more. We thought, or we believed, we could earn a power play and we knew we had to score on that. So Andreas’ goal allowed us to to wade our way back into the game and it did give us a spark.
On if the line changes he made late in the game were ones he had in the back of his head coming into tonight or if they were more in-game ideas based upon tonight’s play
It was more being on the bench, observing and watching. We got some good nights from some players, others have to pick it up a notch. It became a three-line game once we killed the penalties and we tried to pick the three that we thought would get the job done. We needed to move a few people around to give different lines different ingredients. Will it stay that way as we go forward? We’ll have to look at it tomorrow and decide from there.
On changes with the defense pairings, as well – including moving Mikey Anderson around
Again, it’s situational. It depends who is in the box. Roy went into the box there for a while and just like we do with the forwards, sometimes it gets cut down to four instead of six when you’re pushing at the end and you can afford to run the tanks empty. Mikey has played very well, in my opinion, right throughout the all three games. He had a helper on the first goal, so that was nice to see. We count on him for for a lot of things in the games – penalty kill, five-on-five play, offense, and we’re talking about a young defenseman that I think played his 11th or 12th game tonight.
On tonight’s start to the game
They came after us. Minnesota plays a really good, hard game. This team plays a little bit differently. Keep in mind, we haven’t seen that in 10 and a half months. Without an exhibition season, it was coming at us quite quick and we had to adjust. We didn’t do a real good job early, but I thought we played our way into it. If you think about the opportunities they got early in the game, they didn’t necessarily have those later on. I thought we played better as the night went on.
On being encouraged by the five-on-five play and making sure guys aren’t losing confidence while other areas of their performance is being sorted out
Our locker room is fairly bright. They know where they’re at. They know a lot of the stuff they’re doing well and things they need to get better on. It’s our job to reinforce the positives, to make sure they see the things they’re doing well, and they have to know that we can recognize it and acknowledge it. My line of, ‘Our whole game needs to improve’ hasn’t changed one bit from the Minnesota game. We’ve got a lot of work to do in a lot of areas. We’re into our third game, and some of these teams played as late as September and have played a lot of games, have some good pieces that are used to being around each other. We’ll get better as time goes on. I don’t think anybody is disheartened to the point where they’re ready to throw the towel in. We know we have lots of work to do and we’re accepting of that.
On Cal Petersen tonight
I thought he was fine. Early in the game, they came at him quite hard. He made some really good saves to keep us in the game. For a goaltender who hasn’t played in a long, long time, reading what’s going on on the power play is also a tough thing. Reacting to how quick they move the puck around is not an easy task for a goaltender. We know that he’s gonna get better, Quickie’s gonna get better and everybody’s gonna move forward as as we go along.
More postgame comments linked below.
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