Following the Kings 2-1 victory in Minnesota on Tuesday, LA has now won three of their last four games.
After the game, coach Todd McLellan shared these comments:
On his comments from the other day regarding not swapping out fourth line guys just for the sake of change
They were very good again. They had an impact at both ends of the rink. I thought they carried a couple of other lines when they needed it. We felt good about putting them on the ice late in the game and they obviously got us the winner. There was a lot of boxes those three checked again tonight. Right now they’re confident, they should be confident. They feel good about playing with each other and I think they’re beginning to gel. Everything about it right now is good, so let’s keep going as long as we can and reward them with more ice time if we can.
On how encouraging it is to see the Kings win a game like this, when maybe they don’t have a 60 minute effort
We won, not the way we want to win tonight, but a win is a win. I thought in the first period we played a pretty strong, aggressive game. The power play let us down a little bit, but they’re one of the top penalty killing units in the league. I thought the script got flipped on us in the second, then in the third when they were playing from behind they were very aggressive. The trenches, the stick battles, the body blows in the corners, the little two or three foot plays – I think we have to get much better in those areas against this team and a lot of other teams. We’re capable of it. We just got to get more out of the guys.
On if Cal Peterson stole the game for the Kings
I would say that Cal had his best game of the season. I thought Cal performed like he did last year when he came up, I remember him playing in Vegas, I think it was, and he had an outstanding night. Especially on the road, sometimes your goaltender really has to pitch a real strong game, and I thought Cal gave us that tonight. Hats off to him, and I really thought he looked like he did last year and missing a week coming into the season, it wasn’t two weeks before training camp or anything like that, was probably the most important week of training camp for a goaltender isn’t easy. You can see [Sean] Walker, [Kurtis] MacDermid, and him starting to get their legs and get into game speed and game shape. Not that they’re unconditioned, but just mentally into it at that pace and intensity.
On trusting the entire lineup and if that is something he wants to continue moving forward
I would like to have the ability to trust 12 forwards and six defensemen. I think it’s phenomenal for team building when your fourth line guys can go out and give you such good minutes, the bench is so excited and cheering for them. It’s real rewarding that way. On nights when [Anze Kopitar] our top six maybe aren’t quite as polished, they’ve got to pick up the slack or the difference and that certainly happened with [Michael] Amadio’s line tonight.
On the turning points in the game and how he saw it flow
I thought was established the game we wanted to play early, and then we got some power plays. The four-minute power play took a little wind out of our sails we were. We didn’t get much on it, we got a few looks and that gave them a little bit of pep took a little bit out of us, and it shouldn’t, but it did. And then in the second, I thought when it was time to compete in tight areas over bouncing pucks or loose pucks for body position, for six to 12 inches of ice, it may something strange, but that amount of ice makes a huge difference, I didn’t think we did as good of a job in the second as we did in the first. In the third they score early, we challenge, coaches put our team in a bad situation where they have to kill again, and momentum went their way. [Carl Grundstrom’s] goal was really important. It settled us down for a little while. They pull the goalie, and any team is dangerous in that situation. That’s where your goaltender has got to be tremendous, he was.
On Anze Kopitar’s impact on the game on nights when he doesn’t appear on the scoresheet
You could probably sit beside [Anze Kopitar] right now and you could ask him about the game and the most important thing that would come out of his mouth, he would say “we won”. I don’t think he’d say, “you know what, my streak was broken. I didn’t get a point”. I don’t think he’d be dejected at all about lack of being on the scoresheet. It’s all about winning for him. It’s great when your Capitan and your leader has those skills. He’s prepared to play at both ends of the rink. He gives offense up so that the team can win at times, can’t say enough about him.
On what impressed him about the Kings ability to settle down after the penalty
The fourth line, really, to tell you the truth. They had some good offensive shifts. They broke the rhythm of Minnesota just long enough where we could catch our breath. Most of their shifts were played in the offensive zone and they battled and kept it clean, so the rest of the group could catch their breath, regroup, and go again. I was impressed with how Amadio’s line played, the chanced they created – over and above the winning goal, they had numerous other chances, more than probably any other line. The quality of the shifts they gave us allowed the rest of them on maybe a B-night, not an A-night, to recoup and give us whatever they had. That impressed me the most.
On the decision to challenge the Minnesota goal
It happened fast. We had no thought of challenging it until we quickly looked at the replay on the bench. To me, it looked like the the stick of Greenway was pushing the pad of Cal into the net. From there, we rely on our people in our video booth and upstairs, as well. The call was made to challenge it. I think we got a replay a little late. The6re’s no reason for that, but we did. In the replay it showed that the puck wasn’t covered, it was laying there. So they made the right call. We took it on the chin. Thankfully, the players bailed the coaching staff out, which is appreciated by us
More postgame comments linked below.
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