While the past 30 days have not been much fun for the LA Kings, there were those moments of hope for the team and their fans. Sure, four losses to San Jose were painful for all involved. Yet, a reunited line of Grundstrom-JAD-Moore seemed to pick up where they left off. Plus, Lias Andersson was called up and performed well in a brief stint. Then, when the defense was ravaged by injury and protocol — losing three key players — Kale Clague was able to get back into the lineup for a few games and performed admirably.
Following the Kings recent come-from-behind victory over the visiting Arizona Coyotes, Clague and forward Adrian Kempe shared some thoughts…
Clague on the scoring play off the rush with Kempe
It was just a spur-of-the-moment decision. I knew there was gonna be back pressure, just instincts, I guess.
On if the third period vs Arizona confirmed the team’s belief in themselves
Yeah. We’ve showed it. We weren’t ready to back down. I’m really happy for everyone to get back on the winning track. We all just want to carry that over into the weekend.
On the feedback the coaches are giving him to become a regular in the NHL lineup
To be solid defensively. I know what I need to do. It needs to start in my d-zone and then everything else will take care of itself. I’ve been doing that; I’m just trying to stay focused and helping this team find some wins.
On what he was able to do to turn his game around in the past few weeks
It was mental battle, but I just stuck with it just kept working in practice and things started to turn around. I was starting to get some bounces too. Once you start getting those little bounces, you can really build off that and carry momentum. That’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve been trying to do the same thing up here since I’ve been here.
On if the locker room is aware of Drew Doughty’s passionate postgame comments on Monday
Yeah. He plays with a lot of emotion and he’s very vocal on the ice, in the room. Everyone feeds off that. We put a lot of energy, a lot more than the other night. I’m really happy for everyone in the room, we got our bounces when it mattered.
Kempe on the turning point for the Kings on Wednesday night
We just stuck with it. We played a pretty solid game, obviously. The PK was playing really well, and our 5-on-5 game was strong. When you score a goal, that’s important. The entire last period, every single line was really good. We were talking about that before the period, as well. It was nice to get a couple goals back and get a win.
Kempe's goal tonight was his 13th of the season, by far his most productive year…
2017-18, 16 G in 81 GP (.20 G/GP)
2019-19, 12 G in 81 GP (.15 G/GP)
2019-20, 11 G in 69 GP (.16 G/GP)
2020-21, 13 G in 38 GP (.34 G/GP)
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 8, 2021
On how the play developed leading to his goal
It was off the kill. We have a really good penalty kill lately. The D has been clearing out in front of [Jonathan Quick] and Cal [Petersen] a lot. They shoved the puck out and I just heard I had a lot of time from the bench. Then, there was a clear cut through and Clague made a good play back to me, where the goalie wasn’t ready for it. I just tried to get it off my stick as quick as possible.
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) April 8, 2021
On if he knew the pass was coming back from Clague before his goal
When JAD is driving as the far guy, I think for Clague it’s either gonna be a shot, probably for him, or the pass back. I was ready for the pass back from Clague. It was a great play by him. It was a one-touch right back. It’s hard for the goalies to keep up with that, really good play by him.
NOTE: Two Kempe-related podcast are linked below – his visit to KOTP, plus our latest show where we look at the Kings roster and potential moves heading into Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline.
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