Rapid Reaction, feat. Curtis Zupke
John Stevens, on falling 4-1 despite good stretches in the game:
I think when you go on the road and you start out getting scored on the first shift of the hockey game, it makes it a real uphill battle. I thought the guys showed a lot of urgency the way they played after that, but Toronto’s not a team where – really, anybody, to be honest with you – at the end of a road trip you start 1-0 down early in a hockey game. We know their power play’s dangerous, and we know it gives them confidence. I just thought we took two careless penaties that ended up putting them on the man advantage, and it really gave them momentum in the hockey game. So now you’re climbing out of a hole. We started to generate some things, but then giving up the next one, now you’ve really started to chase the game and spending a lot of energy doing so. I think if anything on this trip, you learn how hard it is and how hard it needs to be. I think it’s supposed to be hard.
Stevens, on what central tenets he’d like to see improved at home this week:
I think it’s important to get better in all areas of our game. There were some good stretches where we checked a lot better tonight. I thought we moved pucks to speed a lot better tonight. I thought our intention to get the puck to the net was a little better, and I thought our power play created some better looks here tonight. Those are all things that have to get a whole lot better so we can come out on the other side of the equation.
Stevens, on whether he’s surprised with what he’s seen from Ilya Kovalchuk:
That seems to be a pretty common question. I think it’s early in the process. He’s a high-end talent. He’s a big man that’s got really good skills, so I don’t know if there’s anything that’s surprised me with him. I thought he was more of a shooter, but he’s really a high-possession guy that makes a lot of plays, so if anything, that might’ve been a little bit of a surprise.
Stevens, on pushing the pace of the game:
I think we can, I think we have to. Everyone talks about speed – and Toronto’s got lots of speed – but Toronto’s puck speed is excellent, and that’s an area we can get a lot better at. We recognize possession, the way we execute, puck speed makes you a lot faster. We’ve got some guys on our team that can skate, and I think if you combine the speed of your legs with the speed of the puck, you become a much faster hockey team.
Stevens, on whether he would prefer to score off the rush to a higher degree:
And not off the zone and not on the power play? I mean, that’s kind of a blanket statement, to be honest with you. I mean, we’ve got to score more goals, period. We had a big improvement in our offense off the rush last year with a lot of the same people that we have here now. I think the addition of Kovalchuk, we usually get a lot of offense from our back end, we usually get a lot of pucks at the net from our back end. It’s not an indictment on our defense, it’s just there’s not enough pucks going to the net from the tops, too. It’s hard to score three versus five down low, but those are all areas we’re going to continue to attack.
Stevens, on whether the team is “snakebitten” and without “puck luck”:
You can say ‘puck luck,’ but quite honestly, the harder you work, the more breaks you get. It’s not something you can use as an excuse. We had some good looks tonight. We had pucks on people’s tape that you would expect to capitalize in those situations, but can we go to the net more? Yes. Can we put more pucks to the net? Yes. Can we get more pucks from the top? And I think the results will be different.
Stevens, on Jack Campbell taking responsibility for the loss, and not having the luxury to rest him with Jonathan Quick out:
You’re assuming that’s the case. I think everybody looks at a goalie differently. The goalie’s on your team, right? It’s because it’s a specialized position like a quarterback. Jack’s played some great games for us. We’ve all got to be better. Jack’s a great kid, he works hard at his game, he’s only going to get better. Don’t put the goalie on the island there. He’s one of the 20 guys that were dressed tonight, and we’re going to need everybody to win.
Stevens, on how the power play can improve:
I think the power play actually took a little bit of a step, but I think the whole idea of execution to get into the zone, spend more time in the zone is an area we’ve certainly got to address this week, and then just quicker puck movement with more momentum and movement to the net. You want to get the puck with possession, you want to establish the middle of the ice and you want to get numbers going to the net with momentum, and you want to have people around the net. Toronto’s a great example of that. They’ve got two units there – everyone talks about the first unit, but that second unit creates a lot of momentum for ‘em, scored a big goal tonight. I did think our power play created momentum for us tonight. I think your power play, even when it doesn’t score, should leave you coming out of that situation where you feel like you got a little bit of a thrust, and I thought we had that tonight, but at the end of the day we’ve got to score on it.
Tyler Toffoli, on whether there was a consistent challenge over the course of the road trip or if there was a different challenge every game:
I thought we had some really good looks tonight and obviously that’s the way it goes and we lost the game, but a couple bounces here and there and could’ve been a totally different outlook. But there’s no excuses–we’ve got to find a way.
Toffoli, on whether there’s frustration at not getting bounces to go their way:
Yeah. Definitely, but you’ve got to work through it and like I said, you can’t use it as an excuse. You’ve got to find a way and come together and you can’t do it by yourself, you’ve got to do it all together and I think we’re going to be find and we’re going to find a way.
Toffoli, on what is or isn’t clicking on the power play:
We’ve just got to generate some shots and some opportunities. I thought we had some good looks tonight and I thought the same thing last night or against Ottawa. So it’s a matter of getting the shots through and getting a dirty goal and it’s one of those things where I think if one goes in then everyone’s going to stop talking about it and we don’t need to listen to anybody else talk about the power play when we can figure it out ourselves.
Jack Campbell, on what Stevens told him in preparation for today’s game:
He just said, ‘Don’t change a thing and just reset for today.’ So that’s what I tried to do. Just a tough bounce on the first one and then had to come up with a couple big saves there.
Campbell, on what he’s seen from Kovalchuk so far this season:
I think when you look at him in practice it’s not too surprising that he’s having success. He’s such a talented guy and he loves the game. He’s a great teammate so we definitely love seeing him score and hopefully he keeps that up.
Campbell, on what makes the Marleau-Matthews-Kapanen line so dangerous:
Man, they kind of have it all to be honest. You know, they’re quick, they transition the puck really well, and they’re creative so you think they’re going to shoot and then they slide it backside or something. They’re a pretty talented group and just got to make a couple saves on them there.
Campbell, on whether there’s been a central challenge to this road trip:
No, I just think the last two games I needed to make more saves and we win a couple games so that’s about it.
-With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 66-61-23 all-time against Toronto, a record that includes a road mark of 27-37-13. The teams have one game remaining, November 13 at Staples Center.
-With the loss, the Kings fell to 2-2-0 against the Eastern Conference, 2-2-0 against the Atlantic Division, 1-2 in games decided by three goals or more, 0-2-1 when their opponent scores first, 0-2-1 when trailing after the first period, 0-3-0 when trailing after the second period and 0-2-0 when outshooting their opponent.
-Los Angeles was 0-for-3 on the power play, extending their streak to begin the season to 0-for-21. The Kings have gone six games without a power play goal to begin the season, surpassing their previous record of four games (1/19/13-1/26/13, 0-for-23). The Kings have gone at least eight consecutive games without a power play goal nine times, most recently from November 21, 2013 to December 7, 2013 (0-for-30). The club record is 12 consecutive games without a power play goal, set from January 1, 1969 to January 26, 1969.
-Drew Doughty, who was one the ice for four goals against, and Tanner Pearson, who was on the ice for one goal against, were on the ice for their first goals against in any situation this season. Adrian Kempe is the only King who has not been on the ice for a goal against in any situation.
-The Kings attempted 72 shots (34 on goal, 21 blocked, 17 missed). The Maple Leafs attempted 55 shots (25 on goal, 21 blocked, 9 missed). John Tavares led all skaters with five shots on goal, while Tyler Toffoli led all skaters with 10 shot attempts (4 on goal, 4 blocked, 2 missed).
-Los Angeles won 31-of-60 faceoffs. Adrian Kempe won 5-of-9, Michael Amadio won 1-of-3, Anze Kopitar won 12-of-19, Ilya Kovalchuk won 1-of-1, Jaret Anderson-Dolan won 2-of-5, Nate Thompson won 2-of-10, Tanner Pearson won 0-of-1 and Jeff Carter won 8-of-12.
Tuesday, October 16 is an off-day for the Kings. Their next practice is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 17 at Toyota Sports Center.
-Lead photo via Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire