Following the Kings first win of the season, a 4-2 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night, here’s what LA coach Todd McLellan had to say…
On how he feels after his first win in over 300 days
A little bit of everything. That wasn’t a Picasso, but we don’t need the the perfection right now, we just need to win. Interesting battle tonight, back and forth, and then hemmed in our end and get an opportunity to score. It was a happy night in the end, but it was a stressful night throughout.
On if he made the idea to move Anderson up with Doughty before the game or if it was an in-game idea
It was made during the game.
On if he was more satisfied with the power play tonight
Well the goals, definitely. I think some of the things that we put into play in practice yesterday showed up in the game today, so that’s a good sign that means mentally we’re starting to engage a little bit more and grab concepts and apply them. Yes, the power play was better tonight. It still has work to do, as our whole game does. You’re probably gonna hear that for me for the first half-season, considering how short it is. It allowed us to crawl back into the game tonight and we’re happy for that.
On the Avs having fewer shots in the third period and if that can be attributed to the change in D-pairings
I think the change helped. I think we were getting caught on the ice for some fairly long shifts, whether it was them hemming us in or us trying to extend a shift, maybe looking for some offense that wasn’t there early in the game. Even late into the second we were still doing that. I thought in the third we managed shift length a little bit better; we played as a fresher team. That’s the only way you can play against that team, with the the pace and the skill they come at you with.
On the improved special teams tonight
Well, we got the results tonight. We gave up the one power play goal, which we would like to have back. I think we could have done a better job in some of those situations. On our clears, we had pucks on our tape and for some reason, I don’t want to say we panicked, but we didn’t have enough poise to get the clears. As a result, they kept it in and scored. The good news about the penalty kills is, it didn’t have to work nearly as much. It got the job done. And the power play goals I just talked about were real important and they were timely. If we come out of that 5-on-3 or out of that power play situation without anything, and down two goals, you could probably feel the air go out of the the sales a little bit and would have been hard to to work back in.
On wanting to see what the team looked like when they were rolling lines, staying out of the penalty box
It was much better than it had been, as far as the the parade to the box. We cleaned some of that up. I don’t think we’re gonna play a perfect, penalty-free game. Those are very rare in the league. Cutting it down by a third – Grundstrom got to play five minutes the other night; today, he had almost 11. He got a chance to contribute to the team’s success. So did Amadio, and so did Moore. The other three lines got to roll a bit more. Let’s face it, we need 20 guys a night to win. There are some teams that probably get by with 15, but we need 20 at night.
On if he was satisfied with the newly constructed top line
I thought they were effective. I thought that Kempe gave them a little more pace and yet Brownie fit well with Gabe. The flip was something we’re happy with to this point. We’ll see if we can build off of it.
On the mental toughness the Kings displayed tonight
If we think of where we were a week ago, we’ve played four games now in a week. We opened up last Thursday. We’ve had some opportunities to experience the devastating comebacks from Minnesota. Then the other night, pushing the game close. To go down by two tonight, you’re on the bench and your concerned that maybe the guys will not commit enough to to finish the night the proper way. Give them credit. Again, I think that’s the leadership. I think that is some of the inbred qualities that we have here because of the championship teams and they’re spreading that out amongst the players. I can’t remember very many games in my time here where the team rolls over and plays dead. That’s there and we’re gonna continue to grow that as as long as we possibly can.
On where he thinks this team is after four games
We’re at the beginning of a season after a long, long layoff. We are a work in progress. We’re nowhere near the finished product. I think we’re looking for some poise in certain situations. I think physically, we want to do the right things. Mentally, we’ve still got a clean some things up. I’d like to see us pass and receive the puck a lot better. I think it’ll make us a faster team. Special teams, they’ve had a lot of work on both sides so far. Goaltending, I thought Quickie was a very good tonight – very few easy, simple saves for him. They were tough saves, scramble saves. I’m not sure, if they had 24-25 shots or whatever they had, 20 of them were probably grade-A good quality ones. So goaltending has been good, as well.
On allowing the first goal in all four games thus far
You don’t want that to happen. We’ve got so many other things going on that we probably won’t talk a lot about it. I think that we received the game rather than applied the game the last two nights here. We were on our heels early and we kind of tip-toed into it rather than throwing everything we have at a team right off the bat. That’s something we need to fix. Obviously getting the lead is better, but I think we’ve got things to fix before the goal comes.
On the quality of the four penalties taken by the Kings tonight
Nobody wants to commit any type of penalty, but there’s situations where — and this is an old saying in the hockey world — there’s good penalties and there’s bad penalties. We’re far too much on the bad penalty side than the good penalty side. I think tonight we straightened it out a little bit. But you play with fire when you short staff your team. Not only from a fatigue factor and a flow factor, but even the block shots and injury factor goes up. We still have to get better. Four is too many.
On expectations for Adrian Kempe when he’s a finished product
When he’s a finished product, I don’t know when that’s going to happen. I think that he has a lot of offensive ability. I think that he skates very well and he has a tenacity to his game. His shot has improved, he worked on it over the summer; he gets it off a little bit quicker. I think he should be a very well-rounded player that can give us good, hard, fast minutes for a lot of years. To me, in my year-and-a-half here, I just see an individual that’s matured a lot too. He just carries himself a little bit different, maybe going from a young man to an older man. And accepting some leadership has been a good thing for him, as well.
More postgame comments linked below.
Kings-Avs Wrap-up With Anze Kopitar, Now Tied for Points Lead
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