Rapid Reaction, feat. Arpon Basu of The Athletic
Willie Desjardins, on what Montreal did well in the win:
They were good tonight. I thought they had lots of speed. That’s a fast team. When they attacked, they jumped on us. I thought the first period, that was probably when Montreal was at their best. I thought we got better as the game went on. We figured maybe a few things out, but they were really quicker.
Desjardins, on what Montreal did well in front of Carey Price:
We had some chances. We had some pucks later on both in the second and third period where there were pucks in the crease that we just didn’t quite get to. We had some quality chances around the net that we were just a half-second slow and we didn’t get to the pucks, but I thought the effort was there again. I thought the guys played hard late.
Desjardins, on Dion Phaneuf’s giveaway on Jordan Weal’s goal:
Yeah, it was a tough one. It’s hard – your D are trying to make something out of it. Thought they had a little more time there and they didn’t, and that happens in the game.
Desjardins, on what Matt Luff did well and will need to continue to do to get minutes:
He’s a young player. I think the game was quick for him tonight. To come in, that’s a hard team to step in and play against, but he’s got a great shot, and that’s the one thing he’s got to keep using is finding ways to get that shot. He got an opportunity and he put it away, which was great.
Desjardins, on when Alec Martinez’s decisions and reads became “natural” in his first game back:
I think it always seems pretty normal with Marty. He’s a pretty smart player and he knows the game. That is tough, though, when you’ve been off for a while to come back in and play, but I thought he did a good job coming in.
Alec Martinez, on settling into his first game back since being injured:
I think we’ve got a lot of staff that have put in a lot of hard work into getting me ready. I think that obviously helps a lot coming back from injury. I felt good.
Martinez, on at what point everything feels like it is back to second nature:
I don’t know, I think it’s just important to get in a rhythm early. I think that maybe after the first, like you mentioned, just getting your reads back.
Martinez, on what Montreal did well tonight:
They transitioned really quickly. I think we didn’t do a good enough job getting pucks out and getting pucks into their end. When we did get them in, we can’t put them in a spot that’s easy for Price to stop because that allows them to break out much easier.
Martinez, on whether they needed to make things more challenging for Carey Price:
I don’t know how many we finished with, but you’ve got to get more than we did.
Martinez, on how he would grade the team in his first game back:
It wasn’t good enough. We didn’t win.
Matt Luff, on what went through his mind after scoring:
He’s a good goalie, I mean, I knew that coming into the game. Scoring on him is pretty cool. He’s probably one of the top hockey goaltenders, but I’d trade in my goal for a win tonight, so it’s tough not to get the two points.
Luff, on what he saw on his goal:
Brownie made a great feed to Lewie, Lewie got a lot of speed too and that one kicked out to Brownie. Drew made an unbelievable play to me in the high slot and I just saw a little low blocker and just put it there and luckily it went in.
Luff, on whether he was expecting to score eight goals in his first NHL season:
Yes and no. No, I don’t want to come in and play these games and just be happy that I’m on the team. I really want to show that I can play here and try and earn a spot and not be a guy that keeps going up and down. I want to be a guy that just stays up and keeps producing day in and day out.
Luff, on whether he watched Price in goal when attending Habs games as a kid:
Yeah, he was in goal for the majority of them.
Luff, on if scoring on Price feels almost “surreal”:
It’s pretty cool. He’s probably in the talks for Hall of Famer and so, to get one past him is pretty cool and to be able to tell my buddies back home, but it would’ve been huge to get the two points tonight, so I mean, it’s a win-lose on that one.
Luff, on what he imagines his parents are feeling right now:
I’m sure I’ll check my phone and my mom will have a text for me, so she’ll probably be pretty fired up.
Luff, on if his game is where he wants it to be at this point:
I mean, I think, going down and coming up, going down and coming up, I just want to show that when I’ve been down I’ve been putting in the work. And the big thing they keep saying is just moving my feet and coming up and not being afraid to make plays, so I think coming today I just wanted to show that I can show that I can make plays and that I can play fast and play against Montreal who’s a fast team. I thought I’ve been doing that, especially today and last game, so I think I’ve been moving in the right direction and not taking a step back recently. So, I think if I can keep pushing this way then hopefully I just be a full time call-up here.
–Los Angeles fell to 35-91-21 all-time against Montreal, a record that includes a home mark of 23-41-10. With a record of 1-1-0, the teams split the season series. The Kings are 8-3-1 in their last 12 games overall head-to-head match-ups.
–Los Angeles fell to 9-18-4 against the Eastern Conference, 2-10-3 against the Atlantic Division, 3-11 in two-goal games, 7-30-6 when their opponent scores first, 3-21-3 when trailing after one period, 1-28-2 when trailing after two periods and 8-14-2 when outshooting their opponent.
–By earning his 314th career win, Carey Price tied Jacques Plante for the most wins all-time by a Canadiens goaltender.
–Alec Martinez appeared in his 540th game, moving within one game of Sean O’Donnell (541 games) for sixth place among defensemen on the Kings’ all-time games played list.
–Matt Luff scored his first goal since the 4-3 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on December 15.
–By assisting on Luff’s goal, Drew Doughty extended his assist streak to three games (0-3=3).
–Los Angeles attempted 53 shots (27 on goal, 16 blocked, 10 missed). Montreal attempted 47 shots (24 on goal, 11 blocked, 12 missed). Ilya Kovalchuk led all skaters with five shots on goal.
–The Kings won 22-of-46 faceoffs (48%). Adrian Kempe won 3-of-9, Anze Kopitar won 11-of-21, Brendan Leipsic won 2-of-2, Trevor Lewis won 2-of-3, Tyler Toffoli won 1-of-1 and Jeff Carter won 3-of-10.
The Kings are scheduled to practice at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.
–Lead photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI