On the challenges inherent in the loss:
I think it’s pretty clear. They’re the top offensive team in the league. They dress seven D and 11 forwards a lot, which means their top guys play more, and our worst period was our first period. Our whole focus was trying to be a better checking team against that type of offense, and quite frankly, we didn’t do a very good job against it. Gave up easy goals – a breakaway, blue paint tap-in, fourth man on the rush, and then an easy entry power play goal. So all those goals are situations that we’d like to be a whole lot better in, but it’s a gauge and a measuring stick for us. Our guys have played extremely hard and have done a great job to this point. I do think they’re the best team in the league. They’re the best team that we’ve seen and they’re a different animal, and we’ve got some work to do.
On whether he agreed with the goaltender interference call:
I’ll be honest with you. I’m totally confused on the goalie interference penalty. I don’t have a clue what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. If the league wants to put a seminar together, I will attend it, because I’m more confused now than I was at the start of the year. If Dustin Brown can’t go to the net and win a physical battle – I had Braydon Coburn play for me. He’s a hell of a kid. He’s a 230-pound monster. He’s a big, physical specimen, and Brownie goes to the net and wins a physical battle, and they disallow a goal. And then the other night in Anaheim, Corey Perry’s in the blue paint and he kicks Jonny’s pad, and that goal counts, this one tonight doesn’t. I may sound sarcastic – I’m confused. I don’t know. Help me, please, because I don’t have a clue.
On whether he was hoping to slow momentum with the off-side challenge:
No, there way a view that they thought it was off-side. You’ve got to trust the information you get at that point, and I’ll take the heat for that. We kind of talked about it – you don’t want to make that call, and it put us in a deeper hole. That’s my fault. But we had information where they thought there was an overhead where it look off-side, the view. I saw it on the bench, it looked on-side. But we trusted that it was going to be off-side. I did think it slowed the momentum down, so if we could’ve killed that penalty, it allowed us to regroup for a minute if we had have killed it. We didn’t kill it obviously, so that one’s on me.
On how the team regrouped after the first period:
I think the guys were good. We were a little bit embarrassed about how badly we got outplayed. I think the big thing is Jonny you can’t fault Jonny on all those, obviously. Those are plays that he’s one of the best goalies in the world, and I think he was the one that allowed us to kind of get our feet on the ground, but we knew we had to play better. I think we had to get a little more desperation in our play, the second and third effort on plays. I thought Brooks Laich-Dowd, that line got us going early, just because they were extremely determined on pucks. We had some ebbs and flows there where there were times we looked like we could play them, but there were clearly times where we looked like we couldn’t.
On whether Kempe’s absence will be long-term:
No, I think there’s an illness going around that he was unable to play. I don’t expect him to be out long term at all.
On the importance of Peter Budaj’s first period save on Anze Kopitar:
Well, they scored right after that, so it’s kind of a compound non-execution. We actually had some good chances. It’s just we gave up too many great chances. Kucherov, I think the last two games he’s had six breakaways on us. It just seems like as soon as he sees a change of possession, he’s got an awareness where he leaves the zone and they find him up the middle of the ice, so he’s an extremely dangerous player. But, Kopi scores, it’s 1-0 us and not 1-0 them. Those things are going to happen. I thought we tried to maybe push the envelope a little bit offensively after that, which led to the turnover-breakaway. But, you know what? At this point of the season, it’s a really good opportunity to sit back and learn from it.
On whether he was even more impressed with Tampa Bay, having seen them live:
The one thing that might be overlooked with Tampa, I think they have extremely high hockey intelligence. They just seemed to see the small plays in small areas, and they have extremely competitive skill, and their defense is big. It’s everything that we thought they were, and we knew we’d have to play our best game and then some. But, again, it’s a good reference point. We’ve said to ourselves all along, ‘let’s be honest with what’s going on here. We’ve done some good things, but we know we have a lot of work to do,’ and that was certainly the case here tonight.
On whether something is “catching up” to the Kings, given recent results:
If anything, maybe it was the emotional game in Anaheim, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse. I mean, it was an emotional game. You come home and get revved up to play a totally different type of team, but that’s not a habit I think we want to get into. I think we’re excited that this team doesn’t quit, and we think we have a chance. Even if it was 4-2, and that goal counts, I think we had some really good momentum in that game. But that’s not a habit we want to get into.
-Lead photo via Juan Ocampo