On the impact of Anze Kopitar’s line in the win:
Well, I think our leaders are our leaders. Kopi and Brownie and Drew, Muzz, Marty – I mean, we got a lot of big efforts from those guys, exactly what you need. This is a tough environment to come in. They’ve got last change, a very good hockey team, and they’re deep. The fact that they’re deep, we needed to get contributions from everybody, but jeez, the Kopitar line, not only were they good defensively, they carried the load offensively, and it was kind of an up-and-down game, but they stayed with it. It’s not surprising that they were the ones that put the puck in at the end of the game. It’s just really good to see from those guys. I think they’ve taken a leadership role from Day 1, and they certainly came up big here tonight.
On what was expressed or reinforced after the teams combined for five first period goals:
We’re well aware of what they’re doing. Their defense are a huge part of their team, they’re an extremely competitive team down low, and we allowed their defense to be too much a part of the rush. The one goal they jumped by us, and the plays around the net and below the goal line, it’s a men’s game out there, and you’ve got to dig in and embrace the physical challenge. So that’s what we talked about. We really told the guys, ‘listen, we’re down 1-0, really, when you look at it, on the road. Let’s go out and have a good second period and set ourselves up to win a game on the road.’ That was the message. We knew we could be better. We wanted to tighten up a little bit, and we knew we had to.
On whether anything is “evolving” now that the team is 6-0-1:
No, not really. I don’t really feel anything ‘evolving.’ We told the guys, ‘we’ve got to be honest with ourselves.’ We did lots of good things tonight, but there’s lots of things we need to get better at, and that’s what we have to be. We have to reset every game here and understand that we gave up four goals tonight, and you usually don’t win when you give up four goals. So we’ve got to learn from that. We’ve got some really good offensive teams along this trip here, and I think at the end of the day, we told our guys a win is a win, and I think the guys found a way to win, and that’s the most important thing, and they stayed with the program and played 60 minutes to do that. But I think every game we play, we’ve got to sit back and be realistic and say, ‘this is what we did well, let’s continue to do well, and these are the things we need to improve on.’
On whether the challenges at the start were derived from Jeff Carter’s absence:
I don’t think it had anything to do with adjusting without Carter. If anything, you travel west to east, it’s a three-hour time change and your body clock’s on a three-hour difference. You do what you can to get acclimated, but at the end of the day it’s a three-hour time change, and I thought the guys that moved up in the lineup did a really good job. I thought we got some really quality minutes out of Adrian Kempe and Brooks Laich, so I don’t think the start had anything to do with that.
On Brooks Laich’s Kings debut:
Well, it’s a tough situation for him coming into that environment, but it’s what we thought. He’s a good, well-rounded player. He checks well, he creates some scoring chances, he almost had one in the third period. Real positive guy, so to have a veteran guy in the lineup like that was a real bonus for us.
-Lead photo via Jamie Sabau/NHLI