Rapid Reaction, feat. Joshua Cooper of The Athletic
Willie Desjardins, on the team’s effort:
I thought we started a little sluggish – well, I thought the start wasn’t bad. I thought as the game went on we were a little sluggish in the second, but I thought we had a good third period. Right after Christmas, sometimes you get a little bit – they played well in the second. They took some parts of the game away on us, but I thought we came back in the third with a good effort.
Desjardins, on whether the game is a “setback,” given the narrow margin for error:
Any loss sets you back, for sure, but you’ve just got to move past it. It doesn’t matter – you always have to learn from what happened, but then you’ve got to move past and you’ve got to be ready for the next one. We just have to make sure we’re ready. We’ve got tough games. All these games are hard games. Like, that’s agood team. We’ve got to move on, and we’ve got to be ready for the next one.
Desjardins, on the importance of the upcoming trip to avoid falling into a losing streak:
It is, but it’s a battle. You have to be ready every night. Maybe we have a better second period – we just didn’t play well enough in the second. It wasn’t that I didn’t think the effort wasn’t there, we made plays that we shouldn’t have made. And then you go in the next games, and Colorado’s a tough place to win in, and so is Vegas. Our work’s cut out for us. We’re going to have to go hard.
Anze Kopitar, on what Vegas did well that made it difficult to score:
I think one of the areas they’re good at was forechecking. They didn’t give up much obviously coming their way. I thought the first two periods we didn’t play our best, but they played pretty well and kept playing, more often than not, in our own zone and that’s certainly not a recipe for success.
Kopitar, on Sean Walker and Jake Muzzin leading the team in shots with five apiece:
It’s great. I think our D-core is playing well right now.I think Sean, for being a rookie, is playing really well. He’s getting more comfortable with each and every game, but at the same time we’re going to need him to obviously step up and play like that for the rest of the year.
Kopitar, on what the team will do to ensure a 60-minute effort against Colorado:
Well, I think first and foremost, coming to the rink tomorrow ready to practice and we’ll correct some stuff and get ready for Colorado.
Kopitar, on if today’s game is one that the team will shrug off:
Yeah, I don’t think you just shrug it off. We’re certainly going to look at some stuff, what we did wrong, what we did good, but yeah, the big thing now is we can’t let this one turn into two, three, and four, you know? Go onto Colorado and win a hockey game and obviously take it back with Vegas again. These are going to be two really big games and tomorrow again, we’ll get back to work and get ready for those two.
Kopitar, on whether these types of losses have more impact because of the start to the season:
Well, I mean it certainly resonates, but at the same time you have to have a short-term memory in this one. So, you know, we go 4-1, 4-1, 4-1, I’ll take that and then we’ll see where that takes us.
Kopitar, on the loss:
Like I said, they were good on the forecheck tonight. They were quick and we certainly didn’t move the puck as well as we did last few games, but I mean it happens and, you know, saying all of that, it was a one-goal game going into the third and we couldn’t get it done.
Jake Muzzin, on the difference between Saturday’s game and previous games against Vegas:
We won those ones and we lost this one. I don’t know. We were [—-] today.
Adrian Kempe, on playing on the wing instead of at center:
You get more comfortable after a couple games. It’s just a little different than playing center. I guess I get a little bit more pucks when I play center, and it’s just the position I prefer to play. But I try to do my best on the wing and have got to improve it.
–With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 4-2-1 all-time against Vegas, a record that includes a home mark of 2-1-1. These teams have two games remaining: January 1 at T-Mobile Arena and April 6 at Staples Center.
–With the loss, Los Angels fell to 10-12-1 against the Western Conference, 7-6-1 against the Pacific Division, 6-12 in games decided by three goals or more, 4-18-2 when their opponent scores first, 8-8-1 when tied after the first period, 0-17-1 when trailing after the second period and 9-13-2 when outshot by their opponent.
–The Kings have scored zero goals or one goal in 13 of 39 games this season.
–Anze Kopitar scored the 299th goal of his career.
–Alex Iafallo has points in eight of his last nine games, having recorded 10 points (4-6=10) over that span. After recording nine goals and 25 points as a rookie last season, he has nine goals and 21 points through 39 games this season.
–Tyler Toffoli played his 150th consecutive game, the longest streak on the team behind Drew Doughty’s franchise-record 367 consecutive games played.
–Los Angeles attempted 51 shots (31 on goal, 10 blocked, 10 missed). Vegas attempted 67 shots (32 on goal, 17 blocked, 18 missed). Despite the possession discrepancy, the Kings were officially credited with 16 giveaways to the Golden Knights’ four. William Karlsson led all skaters with six shots on goal, while Jake Muzzin and Sean Walker tied with a team-high five for Los Angeles.
–The Kings won 23-of-56 faceoffs (41%). Michael Amadio won 4-of-8, Anze Kopitar won 4-of-16, Brendan Leipsic won 1-of-2, Ilya Kovalchuk won 0-of-1, Alex Iafallo won 0-of-2, Nate Thompson won 9-of-14 and Jeff Carter won 5-of-13.
The Kings are scheduled to practice at 10:00 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center on Sunday, December 30 before departing for Denver to begin a two-game road trip.
–Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI