It was hugs all around for the LA Kings, as they earned their fourth straight win with a sweep of the Coyotes in Arizona.
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) February 21, 2021
Drew Doughty picked up two more assists in the game, including one on Gabe Vilardi’s game winning goal. That gives him 11 helpers on the season and puts him second in points among all NHL defensemen.
After the game, he shared the following comments:
On if he thinks this is one of his better stretches of play in recent times
Yeah, I do. I guess what most people are looking at is I’m getting points, but like I said earlier today how that’s just my teammates being in good spots, making good plays to me, and when I make it to them, they’re making good plays off of it, so I definitely feel really good, my defensive game was really good tonight. I thought I wasn’t great in the second but had a good first and third. I definitely feed off the momentum, when I’m grumpy, I’m not playing my best, when I’m mad and engaged in the game at the other team not at our own team and myself I play much better. When we’re having fun, all of us are better players.
On the winning streak with a young group around him
It’s amazing. I am so impressed with our young guys on the backend. Toby [Björnfot], [Mikey Anderson], [Austin Strand]’s surprised I think all of us because we hadn’t seen him play before, so he’s been playing great. Obviously with [Sean Walker] and [Matt Roy] being out for a while there, they’ve impressed the entire organization, so I can’t be more proud of them and happy for them and just want them to keep having success and helping them along that journey.
On being tied for second in defensemen scoring in the NHL after having a few down years statistically
It’s been a tough one, no doubt about it. Both personally and as a team, it’s been really tough. We’re still going through a little bit of struggles right now, but it’s looking a lot better. Our team’s looking a lot better this season and we’re going to continue to. It means a lot, I haven’t been up there in a long, long time. A lot of people have counted me out, I want to get back up in that conversation. To me, it means a lot, but all the credit goes to my teammates, the coaching staff, and everyone around me. It’s not just me. I am playing well, but it’s everyone around me.
On the changes in the play of Mikey Anderson this season
I think he’s just more comfortable, I think when young guys come in, I remember when I was a young guy and I had to play with Sean O’Donnell or Rob Scuderi or one of the older guys I was worried that they would think that wasn’t good enough, and that I wanted to impress them when I was on the ice and make sure that they thought I deserve to be their partner. I think that the young guys kind of do that when they start playing with me, I played for I think like 12 or 13 years now so to them, they’ve watch me playing growing up so obviously it’s gonna be a little intimidating the first couple games playing with each other, so now he’s just comfortable. I did everything I could to try to help make him comfortable and we’re just on the same page and when you get more games under your belt, you’re able to talk about, the things you did wrong and the things you did right and that has just made us better together.
On if he has to adjust his game at all with Cal Petersen in goal versus Jonathan Quick
Not really. To be honest, no, not at all. The only thing is [Quick] maybe plays the puck a little more than Cal, and that’s really the only adjustment. As for playing in front of them, we have the same rules in front of them. Really, there is absolutely no adjustment.
On if he has played with anyone who has as hard of a shot as Gabe Vilardi
Gosh, well we’ve had a lot of good shooters. I know what you’re saying though about his shot, it’s special. He’s a special player, he just needs to get some experience and stuff like that. We had guys that could shoot the puck back in the day like [Jarrett Stoll] had a bomb, [Jeff Carter] still has one of the hardest shots on the team, no doubt about it, but Gabe’s a great shooter. Surprisingly, his passing’s probably is better ability, or he likes to pass more than he likes to shoot so maybe we got to get on him to shoot a little more, right?
On if playing fewer minutes in a condensed season is going to help him be more fresh down the stretch
I think so, I think the only reason that happened was because I took two penalties. I came off at the end, I don’t really know why I did that, but I did. The coaching started, all our d are playing well, like we talked about earlier in this interview, so why not make my minutes come down a little bit if they can? We’ve got a lot of games coming up, we do have a day off tomorrow so I don’t think that was their plan tonight, but we do have a back-to-back coming up on this road trip, so I look to probably play a little bit less going into there.
More postgame comments linked below.
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Lead photo via Getty Images / LA Kings