With Mikey Anderson out for a second straight game, the Kings reconfigured defense wasn’t able to help string together another victory, ending their six game winning streak with a 3-1 loss to the Wild on Friday night.
On a positive note, the Kings were perfect on the penalty kill for the third-straight game. By killing off all three Wild power-plays, the Kings are now 52-for-61 on the season (85.2%).
Following the game, LA coach Todd McLellan shared the following thoughts:
On what tilted the ice for Minnesota during their three-goal spurt in the first period
We didn’t respond well after the first one. They earned it; they created an opportunity. They made a good play behind the net and it was in. Life goes on. We haven’t had that feeling of falling behind in a long time, and I didn’t think we responded very well. We had a three-minute lapse, misplayed one off the end boards for the second one, and then the third one was a mess in our zone. It took us the rest of that period and all of the second period to stabilize within the game. Our game was getting sick a little bit in St. Louis, I think I mentioned that after playing there, that our puck decisions weren’t real good. We didn’t handle pucks really well when they were on our tape. Often, I think your powerplay is an indicator of that. Ours really let us down tonight, from a momentum perspective — and in execution, sense of quickness, and being in command, we didn’t have that.
On putting Andreas Athanasiou on a line with Jeff Carter and Gabe Vilardi midway during the game
I thought Athanasiou was one guy that had some legs tonight. Some of our top guys looked a little sluggish, and I thought he had legs. He was around the puck, so we bumped him up a little bit and [Adrian] Kempe went down to the other line. He’s a guy that we’ve got to get going–I think he’s scored one goal in the last 14 games. He’s such an important player to us, we have to get him back producing so we can take some of the pressure off some of the other guys.
On how he expects the team to show up tomorrow night
It’s important on how I expect them to show up, it’s even more important on how they expect each other to show up. Let’s face it, we’re not going to hockey school tonight, we’re not doing anything miraculous that’s gonna make us a better team in the next 15 or 16 hours. We know what’s ahead of us. We just have to play a better game, we have to execute when we get the opportunities, and play a better game than we did tonight. We’ll try and help them video-wise and give them a few pointers if we can, but not much is gonna change between now and then.
On his impressions of Kirill Kaprizov tonight and this season
If he isn’t the top rookie in the league, he has got to be one of the top two or three. This is what, game six or seven against them already? Every night he’s gotten better. He’s a factor, his line is very good right now, they complement each other. I see him along the boards and in piles, he’s not the biggest man, but he always seems to roll off and come out. He’s a very slippery player. You’d get a way better evaluation from Dean [Evason, Wild Head Coach] in Minnesota than you will from Todd here. I only get to see him every now and then. Maybe ask Dean that question too, but it’s obvious he’s a great player.
On the officiating in the second half of the game
Let me clarify something, the calls had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the game. So whether they were good calls or bad calls, it didn’t matter. Now, we had five and a half minutes of power play time, they had five and a half minutes of power play time. In my opinion, they were a lot more dangerous than the the team in white and black — and I’m talking about our team not the officials. I don’t think it’s even a factor that we need to discuss.
On the message going into tomorrow’s game
We’re going to do what we always do – we’re gonna get out of here, the players are gonna get some rest, the coaches are gonna look at the game and if there’s a way that we, as a staff, can help them tactically or systematically put them in better spots, then we’re going to do that. The passing, the shooting, and the decision-making has to stay sharp. It often falls off near the end of a road trip. It’s not an excuse at all. I’m not buying it one bit. I’m not gonna let the players buy it. Our details in St. Louis weren’t really good and it carried over into tonight’s game. When do we get them back, how quick can we get them back – to the point where they become really important again? That’s what we’ll be looking for tomorrow.
More Postgame Comments:
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