It’s still a 3-2 league, even in the Arizona desert.
Coming off of a dismal performance against the Ducks over the weekend, Kings coach Todd McLellan was eager to see how his team would respond in their two-game set vs. the Coyotes. Game 1 was a rousing success; not only did LA secure a 3-2 victory, they collectively produced one of their better all-around performances of 2021.
The big news coming into the game was the break-up of LA’s top line, as Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown had somebody new at left wing for the first time in… well, a long time.
Kopitar picked up career points 998 (goal) and 999 (assist).
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) May 4, 2021
Rookie Quinton Byfield played in his fourth NHL game, logging 12:59 of ice time – his least amount to date. He also recorded one shot on goal and finished as a plus-1.
Starting goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered an upper body injury and was replaced by Cal Petersen for the third period. An update on Quick should be available following the Kings late afternoon practice on Tuesday.
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) May 4, 2021
Following Monday night’s game, here’s what McLellan had to share:
On if he liked the team’s response from the games this past weekend
We were really disappointed leaving Anaheim after that second game to a man, we didn’t need to say too much. The guys felt it, lived it for a day. I was asked about ‘what was important,’ the response coming up, and we had it. We had a real good response tonight. Everybody played real well early in the game, which gave us some confidence, Quickie made some saves early. The first period was as good a period as we have played in a long time. Second period, they buckled down a little bit, made it more difficult for us. The third period, we got some saves and held on. We’ll take the win any way we can get it. Happy with the response.
On how he thought Adrian Kempe fit on the Kopitar line tonight
Adrian played one of his better games of the season. He was aggressive all over the rink, set the tone on the forecheck, matched well with Kopitar and Brown. He was as good defensively as he was offensively, and he was pretty good at that end too. We’re really happy for him tonight.
On what went right for the team in the first period
We were aggressive early, we tried to take the game to them rather than receiving it. When we forechecked we had five players involved in it instead of three. We were able to stay ahead of them in line changes, so we were the fresh five rather than the tired five, which makes a big difference for our team. We were just aggressive; it didn’t cost us defensively at all, which was nice to see our team play that way.
On how he liked Alex Iafallo and Adrian Kempe’s games tonight
They flipped positions and I thought they both played really well. [Iafallo] has been snake bit a little bit, he hasn’t been on the scoresheet. To get the winner on the powerplay, which it hasn’t been performing as well as we’d like, is a nice sign for him and for us. Good for both of them.
Iafallo on if he was happy with how the team responded tonight
For sure. You can tell everybody had a great game up and down the lineup, goalies were awesome, everybody played well and it’s a huge win for us.
On how he liked playing with Gabe Vilardi tonight
We had a lot of support, great players, and we’re making good plays. That just gives us momentum going forward, our line had a good game, we have to keep that going
On what went well in the first period that continued throughout the game
We were moving the puck a little faster. You have to hand it to Quickie, you mentioned big saves. Everybody was putting their body on the line, a lot of good blocked shots, good PK, good powerplay. In our zone, just getting the puck out, making quick plays in the D zone that really helped us going forward.
On Anze Kopitar being one point away from 1,000 career points
Yeah, it’s incredible, just even being out there with them. One point away, it’s a pretty amazing accomplishment. It’s just an honor to be able to play with him. He’s a good leader, on and off the ice, and a good friend as well.
For an updated look at the plan for Byfield this week, see the article linked below.
MORE POSTGAME CONTENT:
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com