After a pretty slow start, the Kings eventually pulled it together in St. Louis for a sweep of their two-game set with the Blues and their sixth straight win overall. Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou supplied the offense, while Cal Petersen stopped 35 of 36 shots in LA’s 2-1 triumph.
Following his team’s latest victory, coach Todd McLellan shared the following thoughts:
On if he liked the pairing of Drew Doughty and Olli Maatta the second time around
Definitely. They were a real solid pair for 30 minutes tonight and Olli played a big part in that. He’s a lot more confident now than he was earlier in the year. He has a better understanding of how we want to play and he’s just making good, smart plays right now – defending well, blocking shots, doing everything that he needs to do. Real good for him and good for us that he’s responded the way we believed he could.
On the aggressive play in the third period with the lead
I didn’t think we had a real good game from the get-go tonight, to tell you the truth. We were slow with the puck. You look at the number of shots that we had that missed the net, that were deflected, tipped, fumbled. We just weren’t good with the puck tonight. Throughout the whole night, we did check fairly well. Even during that extended 6-on-5 or 6-on-4 time, we didn’t give them much out of the middle, the goaltender was great. I didn’t think we were near as sharp with the puck tonight as we were two nights ago and some of that has to do with how well St. Louis played. They played a much better game tonight than they did the other night, and it put us into a tough spot. I think there’s more in our team and we want to clean some things up by the time we get to Minnesota.
On if the Kings slow beginning was a result of the new defensive pairings tonight
No, I don’t think so. I don’t think at all, really. A lot of the hesitation was when we had the puck on our tape in the offensive zone. I might be wrong, maybe I’ll re-watch it tomorrow and see something different. I can’t believe the number of shots that we took that were deflected, tipped 10-feet wide, 15-feet over the net. That really did nothing to keep us in the offensive zone, and as a result, we were the team receiving. I don’t think it had anything to do with the new pairings that we had to play with.
On Mikey Anderson being scratched from the lineup tonight
It was well before the morning skate, it was after the game the other day. He doesn’t have a serious injury; he’s been able to skate and practice yesterday. We just weren’t too sure he was gonna be able to finish the night if he got put in tough situations, so [Kurtis MacDermid] drew in. We’ll see where Mikey is when we get to Minnesota on Friday.
On if the team can afford to make more mistakes with a strong forecheck and strong goaltending
You can never afford to give up any chances. We rely a lot on our structure, making it predictable, knowing where we can or can’t go. When we’re playing it well, we’re a pretty effective team. When we’re not playing it well, we end up giving up chances and that’s basically how any team plays. We were better at it the other night than we were tonight, and our goaltender made some big saves tonight for us.
On the extended delayed penalty
That was the longest delayed penalty call that I’ve seen. Both teams have to go through a line rotation. I know the Kings coach fell asleep and didn’t have a line ready because I never expected it to happen. Shame on me for not paying attention. When a team’s in your end that long, it feels real dangerous unless you’re playing it properly. I remember Jacques Lemaire [Hockey Hall of Famer] told the team once, ‘They can play in your end for 82 games, 60 minutes a night, and you can still get 82 points and make the playoffs by tying every game.’ That’s what we were doing at that moment. Do we want to play that way all the time? No, but we did what we had to do for about a two-minute span just to prevent.
— With the win, the Kings have the longest active winning streak in the NHL (six games) and are tied for the longest in the league this season (TBL; Jan. 30 – Feb. 9).
— The Kings went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill tonight, the 11th time this season they’ve been perfect on the penalty kill. They are 49-for-58 (84.5 pct.). They’ve only allowed nine opponent power-play goals this season, which ranks eighth (tied) in the league.
— Alex Iafallo scored his sixth goal of the season and now four points over his last four games (3G, 1A).
— Dustin Brown picked up an assist, giving him nine points over his last seven games (6G, 3A).
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