With five wins in a row, and points in six straight, there’s staring to be a familiar feel around the LA Kings. They have that same swagger displayed late last season. It’s a pinch of confidence from the veterans and a spoonful of enthusiasm from younger players thriving in their new roles.
Following practice in St. Louis on Tuesday, LA coach Todd McLellan shared a few thoughts:
McLellan on if there any similarities to the winning streak at the end of last season
Some different personnel, different types of opponents, different conference, different time of year, but yet it feels the same. I think the guys are confident. They believe in playing a certain way to win. We’ve played pretty patient and we’re getting good goaltending, so there are similarities. Yet, it’s such a different season, it’s it’s hard to put it all together.
On facing a Blues team that is able to generate extended offensive zone time on the cycle
We handled it better than we did the last time we were in here. We put a lot of time and energy into that, in our d-zone. We didn’t come out of it scot-free, but you never will. Teams in this league are so good and they’re so hard to play against, they’re gonna get their chances. That’s why you have good goaltending. The breakdowns that we had — and there were some last night — Quickie was there to bail us out. There are some things that we have to continue to do and there are still some things that we have to fix. We’ll be talking about that for the next 40 games or whatever we have left.
On if Rasmus Kupari may sneak into a game on this road trip
That’s a hard question for me to answer. He’s not going to play tomorrow night against St. Louis, he won’t get that opportunity. I don’t know where our team will be injury-wise, fatigue-wise, or performance-wise as we move forward. He’s certainly knocking on the door, as far as getting his opportunity. He’s done some really good things, starting with his homework following his injury. He worked really hard on overcoming that. Physically, when he came back, you could tell that he did the homework. There are guys that kind of half-ass do it, he did it all. He’s been rewarded at the American League level with a good start to his season. To be fair to you, him, and I, I can’t answer that question yet on this road trip. We’ll see as we move forward.
On making lineup changes during the middle of a winning streak
I think every game that we’ve won, maybe with the exception of one, we’ve made a lineup change. A lot of that is due in large part to guys coming back from injury and working their way back into the lineup. We have to put what we think will be the best lineup on the ice, on any given night. By no means are we always right. We take a calculated estimation of who’s played well in certain situations against teams, line combinations, pairings, special teams, and the confidence level of certain individuals. We never just make a change for change’s sake. I guess that’s the best way to put it.
NOTE: I wrote a feature story for LA Kings Insider today. Check it out here.
Dustin Brown had quite a bit to share after playing in his 1,200th regular season game last night. Those quotes are linked below, for your reference.
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As noted before, the bubble players are Amadio and Wagner. I’m going to also add AA on that list.
So… where does Kupari slot in? For that matter, where do Byfield, Kaliyev, Turcotte, Thomas and Maddden fit?
As noted in a separate article, the Kings have a glut at defense as well.
I’d guess that this may be Carter’s last year, plus a trade of a guy like Kempe and one of our top young players for an up and coming player that is like the Mike Richards.
Good problems to have.
Oops… I forgot about Fagemo plus JAD who looks like he may be able to stick.