As they’ve done pretty much all season, the Kings came out and looked much better in the second night of a two-game set. Although they had to come from behind to do it, LA put up three late goals and finished off the Coyotes 4-3 on Wednesday night.
LA Kings now 10-5-2 in the second night of two-game sets.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 8, 2021
Following his team’s latest victory, coach Todd McLellan had this to say:
On if he is pleased with the all-around play of Kale Clague
Yes, we have. We need really good nights from him right now with guys out of the lineup. Since he’s come back up, he’s played quite well both offensively and defensively. His sense of where he is on the ice and his reads of when to go and when not to are much better now than they were when he left. He’s done some real good things down there.
On if this is a character win for the team
Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. All four lines and six defensemen played some role in it, it wasn’t like one guy scored four and we moved on. To stay with it, especially with the mood around the team lately, it hasn’t been the best because we haven’t won as much as we’d like to. We’ve tried to keep guys up; they’ve done a good job of preparing and falling behind wasn’t something we wanted to do. Certainly, coming back makes this night feel better and should give us a little confidence moving forward.
On playing 21-year-old Mikey Anderson 29 minutes tonight
When you have three of your go-to defensemen out and you’re in a tight game you rely on guys to pick up the slack. If it means picking up four or five extra minutes, then it’s gonna be that way. His partner plays almost 30 minutes every night, so he’s gonna have to get used to that moving forward. He did a tremendous job again as he does every night.
On his impressions of the defensemen tonight
The six are stressed right now because we’re asking some of them to play out of their normal batting order. They’re very capable of doing it, but the confidence hasn’t been as high as it’s been in the past simply because of wins and losses. For them to recover after giving up a couple goals, not just the back end but the team, to stay confident, to stay aggressive and solid as a pair or as a group, it was impressive. Let’s bottle that up now, let’s have a good skate tomorrow, and we’ve got to put a little string together here if we want a chance.
On winning 60% of the faceoffs tonight
I talk a lot about it, how much of a difference it makes when you start with the puck. Shifts are 35-40 seconds long, if you lose the draw and you have to chase it for the first half it’s almost a wasted shift. You’re just eating up the clock, you’re trying to defend. When you have the puck to start, you can get aggressive, you can get moving north even if you’re starting in your own end. It’s huge, and we had [Adrian] Kempe who normally doesn’t play center all the time playing there, [Jaret Anderson-Dolan] who took more responsibility on, [Blake] Lizotte, obviously [Anze Kopitar] always does this thing.
On the play of Drew Doughty tonight after harsh comments after the last game
That’s called leadership. You put yourself out there with your words and when you follow it up through actions. We’re fortunate to have him and a few others that have been through some of the big battles here and won eventually. A lot of talk over the summer about where’s Drew’s game? Drew’s game is outstanding. You really have to be around him to appreciate the minutes, the locker room, the energy brings, the work he’s put in over the summer. He’s as good a defenseman as there is in the National Hockey League right now in my opinion.
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