With three assists in the Kings 6-2 win on Thursday night vs. San Jose, Drew Doughty had his biggest offensive contribution of the season.
After the final buzzer, not only was he smiling, the Kings top defenseman was also in an optimistic and talkative mood. Here’s what he shared:
On the importance of the first period and starting strong
The start was important, even the first shift we had a lot of, the coaches put a lot of attention on that first shift because we gave one up on the first shift last game, so we wanted to have a good start. After we did have that first good shift the lines just kept rolling and rolling over and we’ve kept them in hemmed in their own zone a few times and got a three-goal lead I believe in the first so that’s all good.
On turning his game around and how he is feeling
I’m feeling good, it’s nice for them to give me the day yesterday and be able to get ready for tonight. In this shortened of a season all that really matters is the games. I mean, obviously practice is important, but when you’re playing every other day, you just got to be ready for the games, so that was good that the training staff and the coaches allowed me to do that, and they helped me through it all yesterday. I was ready to go today. I felt good and honestly, I just passed the puck to some guys and they put in the net, so it was all them not me.
On if this was one of his best games of the year
Honestly, no. I was fighting the puck, the ice was crap, puck was rolling on me a lot. Therefore, I wasn’t able to make the plays I’m usually able to make. I thought I was alright tonight, but I did not think it was even close to that game in Minnesota, but the team was so much better tonight that maybe it appeared that way.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 12, 2021
On if the powerplay is the biggest improvement from last year to this year
Yes, 100%. Even throughout my 12 years here in LA, when we go out on that ice, I mean I’ve always had confidence we’re going to score in the past too, but when you go out on that ice right now, you just really feel it. We have threats from every single position, and again, not like I’m saying we didn’t in the past, we did, but I don’t know, there’s just a different feeling. We feel dialed in, we feel connected, Todd’s so good at coaching and [Marco Sturm, Assistant Coach] on the power play, we put a lot of emphasis on it whereas maybe back in the day, we did have a lot of emphasis on it, but playing good defense and playing good five-on-five hockey was more of it. Powerplays been great, every single guy is doing their job, and we need to keep doing it in order to win games.
On applying more pressure in the third period, and any discussion in the second intermission
We’ve blown a lot of third period leads this year. If you want to be a good team in the NHL, you have to learn how to seal the deal when you have the lead and finish the game off. Before we went out there, the coaches, the leadership we all spoke up just reiterating how important it was to learn how to win games in the third period and the boys came out buzzing and dominated the third period, so very proud of the group.
On so many young defensemen in the lineup tonight
All of them were great tonight, all six D. Playing with Mikey is great. For a young guy, he’s very smart in his own end and with the puck. And he talks a lot, which for a young guy, you don’t usually see. As his partner, I appreciate that so much, how much he talks, it’s amazing. Strander has looked awesome. I didn’t really know what to expect since I hadn’t seen him play in a game before and he’s looked awesome out there. He looks like he’s been in the league for a couple years. Toby, we all know how good Toby is and how good he’s gonna be. He’s still so young and he looks like he’s been out there for a long time too. The sky is the limit for that kid. Then, Olli and Claguer looked great too tonight. [We} switched up the pairs a little bit. Deremy’s been good too, it’s unfortunate to see him out, but we were losing, so we switched them up a little bit and it worked, so everyone on the backend was great tonight.
On the communication with Anderson throughout the game
Mikey is calling for the puck. He’s telling me I have time, telling me I have a man on. He likes discussing things himself on the bench too, asking if he should have done something different or he’ll even tell me maybe I should have done something different too – which you don’t see a lot in young guys, but I love that because I don’t want him to be nervous playing with me. I want him to have fun playing with me. I want him to enjoy it. I love directing everything out there. That’s one of the best parts of my game. Any partner I’ve ever played with is gonna tell you the reason they love playing with me so much is because of how much I talk. It’s something I learned at a young age from my dad and It’s something I try to teach all the young guys immediately.
More postgame comments linked below.
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Lead photo via Getty Images / LA Kings