Following the Kings first shutout victory of the season, a 4-0 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild, coach Todd McLellan shared the following thoughts:
On if this was the ‘explosive start to a game’ he’s been asking for this season
It would be close. Look, when we had an opponent that hadn’t played in 12 or 15 days and they’ve had very little practice time. One of the things that we wanted to do is get off to a good, heavy start. I thought we did that for the first few shifts. We got on to the the power play and scored, that certainly helped. They eventually found their legs and skated themselves back into the game. It wasn’t an easy night. They’re a hard group to handle. Quickie had to make some really good saves. We needed some timely goals to put them out. We’re happy for a lot of individuals and certainly for the team.
On past results vs. the Wild, and was there anything specific the Kings did to close this one out
We didn’t take as many penalties as we did in the past. Getting the third goal was really important for us. It took their two goal belief probably away and it settled us down. It happened late in the game, but it was important that that happened. I thought we handled their cycle a little bit better than we did, certainly on the road, and probably here at home, the first four times we played them.
On two straight wins and what’s emerged from the team’s confidence after these back-to-back performances
They earned the right to win the games and they got rewarded for them, so that makes everybody feel good. What’s happening is our lines are starting to gel a little bit. The Kopi line has been together, we pull them apart, and we always seem to go back to them because they they connect. Carts with Gabe and Kempe, they seem to have something going; they’re bigger bodies that can hold onto pucks. Then that energy line of JAD’s played a big part in the game today. And we can’t undersell what Lias’ line did, as well. Even pairs on the backend, again, we’re starting to find a little common ground. Hopefully, we can stay healthy and avoid the virus as much as we possibly can and try and get some sense of unity or continuity amongst the group.
On getting effective play throughout the lineup and if that affords him to cut back the minutes of Kopitar and Doughty
It’s not a goal. We want them on the ice as much as they can. I think the common thought behind that is, even in your thought process probably is, ‘They’re older players, it’s great not to have them out there.’ But they want to be on the ice, they want to play a lot. It’s nice when you can just roll lines for the most part, they accept their responsibility and do a real good job, then hand it off to to another group. With Anderson-Dolan’s line, I felt good about playing them against anybody tonight. So if we missed a match or got into shift-length trouble or anything like that, I felt good about putting them out there regardless of who was on the ice for Minnesota. That’s always a nice luxury.
On how nice it is to see Jonathan Quick get a shutout
It’s a great feeling. He’s probably the one I was the happiest for. It’s been a difficult week for him, if for no other reason than he got pulled and we didn’t go back to him right away. That’s a tough thing when you have a storied career like he does. He was stubborn, he worked real hard in practice, and he was ready for tonight, and he took advantage of the opportunity. That’s what a true pro does. The group really played hard down the stretch for him so that he would get that shut out. I couldn’t be happier for any other individual on our team, he’d be at the top of the list tonight.
On Matt Roy’s first game back
I think we called him Steady Eddie last year – he’s back. Tough circumstances, in my opinion. I don’t think we talked about it or anybody mentioned it, but the hit that he took in Minnesota was heavy, it was hard. It can affect an individual’s career and he did a real good job of battling to to get back into the lineup. Now to come here and play against the exact same team, early in the game he had to go back and retrieve some pucks, but I think as soon as he did it once and had a sense of success, he was real comfortable and he was a big factor in the game. It was nice to have him back.
On how the Kings can build on this momentum as they head out onto the road
We’ll have a quick skate tomorrow, it won’t be overly heavy by any means because we’ve got a lot of hockey coming up. Probably our toughest road trip of the season lies ahead, the six games is as long as it’s gonna get. The teams we’re going to play right now are playing really well. Obviously this Minnesota team, by the time we get to them again, they’re gonna have a number of bodies back in the lineup and they’ll be what they were in the past. Tomorrow, we’ll clean our legs out. I don’t think you’ll see a heavy, hard practice on our behalf. We’ll address some things that we may need in Arizona, which is a team that’s playing a really hard, really gritty game. Just prepare for the next night, that’s all we can do. We want the guys to keep pitching better and better innings for us, night in and night out. If they do that, then we’ll continue to move this thing forward.
Are shutouts still important to you – It's a win
Did you have a little chip on your shoulder after sitting out the last 3 games, maybe some 'don't forget about me' — Nope#neverchange
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 17, 2021
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