Rapid Reaction, feat. Robert Morales of the Southern California News Group:
John Stevens, on how much of a “relief” the win was:
It’s kind of ironic, I though number 17 was outstanding tonight. It’s tough. It seems like we’ve done some good things along the way, and it just seems like tonight was another one of those nights where they got a bounce and I thought we had a really good start. But, it was a real credit to the guys. They stayed with it, I thought the special teams were really good tonight, I thought Kovalchuk was outstanding tonight, I thought Dustin Brown made a big difference in our lineup.
Stevens, on whether he could feel the momentum swing after Dustin Brown’s power play goal:
For sure. A lot of boxes you can check there. We were putting pucks towards the net, we had people at the net, we got rebounds in the blue paint. Whether there was a power play or not, I thought that power play was just looking to shoot the puck right away and guys were converging on the net. It just seems you had that sense when they got out there after that there was a confidence in that group that they were going to create something but were all looking to get the puck to the net, so it was big.
Stevens, on Jack Campbell’s recovery after New York’s second goal:
Well, we’re going to need him to play well. The way the game is now, you’re going to have to be really good. I thought there was not much he could do on the first one. It’s crashed into the net, so I’m not sure he’s going to do anything there. That puck, the second one I think surprised everyone a little bit, but again, if it wasn’t for bad luck, you’d have none at all, so I thought it was really good that the group responded that way. I thought the power play was huge for us in the second period, and again, I think those guys want to make a difference, and when they can make a difference in that situation and can capitalize on penalties, I thought it was a really big momentum shift for in our hockey team.
Stevens, on whether Jonathan Quick was hurt at the end of Saturday’s practice:
To be honest with you, he went through practice and looked terrific, and it was at the end of practice where he didn’t feel right and got checked out. It wasn’t any one incident where he said … [clicks fingers] it was a shot or a save. By the end of practice, when he finished up, he went over and had a conversation with Kinger, so there was something that happened through the course. It wasn’t one particular, acute moment that had it, but he had a great practice, and I thought he was terrific, so we were all a little surprised that he came up lame after that. It’s something over the course of practice that something happened, yeah.
Stevens, on Brown:
We talked about Brownie, whether it was this morning or yesterday, if you had a check list of boxes, I think you’d be hard-pressed to not find a box that he checks. He kills penalties, plays power plays, provides leadership the way he plays and he provides leadership when he speaks. He’s very well respected by the old guys, he’s very well respected by the middle-aged guys and he’s very well respected by the young guys. There’s not a box he doesn’t check. I just thought he came back tonight and was determined to make a difference.
Stevens, on Ilya Kovalchuk scoring on a power play one-timer:
I thought he was really good tonight. He made a lot of plays. Again, unfortunately, I think he was the bearer of some bad bounces there, but he didn’t let it get him off track. I think Adrian skated really well in the middle there. Those guys seemed to have a little bit of chemistry, obviously. I think the power play doing well gave him a little confidence, but it looked like he created a lot and looked really confident with the puck, so I think when he starts to have success in power play situations I think it’s going to give him a lot of confidence in the rest of his game.
Dustin Brown, on getting a goal in his first game back:
It was a good goal. Power play, too. It just felt good to be part of the group again.
Brown, on how he felt during the game:
It felt really good, but first game back and everyone’s ten games in so a little tired. But I’ve been through it before. Just trying to get my legs, but it’s good now we have a day off and get ready to go again.
Brown, on if the second half of the second period is how the team wants to play:
Yeah I think really from right around that part to the time when we scored the third goal. I think once we scored the third goal we kind of sat back too much, but it’s a big win.
Brown, on what the vibe was in the locker room going into the third period:
Just battled back from down two-nothing. Actually, I think we played really well before that. If you kind of look at their goals, one from below the goal line and one from our goalie getting pushed in. Those are the types of goals that you’ve got to find a way to let them go and move on and tonight we did a really good job of just refocusing. The positive energy was, like I said being back, on the bench I liked our energy. Like I said, I can’t say how it was before, but it seemed to be going in the right direction for just the energy and the emotion you need to be able to play with.
Alec Martinez, on his goal:
I’m just trying to make a play with my feet. You know, some would say I lost the puck, I would say that I made a good move. Nah, but the ice was getting kind of chippy there at the end. Lost it, but was able to get it back. I just tried to get a shot on net, tried to use that D as a screen a little. Tried to shoot by his foot and, fortunately, it went in. I think it was a good team effort. We got a lot out of our power play obviously and we had some big kills at the end. PK was really good. All around I think that was the best game that we’ve played in a long time.
Martinez, on the impact of having Dustin Brown back in the lineup:
It’s awesome. He’s obviously one of the big pillars of this hockey team. He’s a leader in here and despite some things that have happened in the past, he’s a huge part of our program, a huge part of our leadership and we’ve never doubted him. To see him come back from injury like that and to have an impact the way he did. Scored that goal and had a great net presence on Kovy’s goal–I think that was him in front. And then obviously what you mentioned, that defensive zone play when he lost his stick. And say what you want about that, but that was a big momentum–it was more than just the play itself. Hats off to Brownie. He did an awesome job.
Martinez, on how the team is looking to build on today’s win:
There’s obviously still room for improvement, but I think we can take a lot of positives from that game. Special teams, we played a good team game, we battled hard. It was a good character win. So I think we’ve just got to take what we did well and build on it and try to get this ship turned around here now.
Jack Campbell, on if there was a momentum shift after Brown scored:
It wasn’t my best game tonight, but I just had that confidence where I just know the group in here and they were just playing great. And I don’t think anybody panicked. I gave up that goal in the second and they just kept going. We tied the game and then kept taking the lead and any time Brownie was out there I felt like it was a huge spark for us.
Campbell, on what the win does for the team right now:
There’s not even a word to describe it. We just needed this win and I thought having Brownie back in the lineup was a huge spark for us. It wasn’t my best game by any means, but I thought the team just kept picking each other up and we just played a great sixty minutes so just feels really good and we want to keep going with it.
Campbell, on his puck-handling ability:
Just trying to make plays to help the team and make it easy for the defensemen coming back. They do a great job of talking to me and letting me know what to do with it and we also work on all that, so it’s a skill you’ve got to keep working on, but it also helps to have great communicators like we have back there on defense.
Campbell, on the next six games at home:
We’re just going to try to play how we did tonight. A strong sixty minutes. For me, I’m just going to try to keep getting better every day and I think if we keep doing that and having this mindset then we’ll be just fine.
–With the win, Los Angeles improved to 50-67-19 all-time against New York, a record that includes a home mark of 29-29-12. These teams will finish their season series February 4 at Madison Square Garden.
–With the win, the Kings improved to 3-4-0 against the Eastern Conference, 1-1-0 against the Metropolitan Division, 1-1-1 in one-goal games, 1-6-1 when their opponent scores first, 1-5-1 when trailing after one period, 1-0-1 when tied after two periods and 1-4-0 when outshooting their opponent.
–Los Angeles is 96-58-13 against the Eastern Conference over the past five-plus seasons.
–Alec Martinez’s goal at 19:05 of the third period gave Los Angeles its first lead since the 3-0 win at Montreal on October 11. They had either trailed or been tied in a game for 419:05 consecutive minutes.
–Martinez’s goal was his 11th career game-winning goal and first since his first period goal on Mike Condon in a 4-1 win over Ottawa on December 10, 2016. With the goal, he surpassed Lubomir Visnovsky (10 GWG) for sole possession of fourth place on the franchise’s list of game-winning goals by a defenseman.
–Anze Kopitar recorded his first assist of the season on Ilya Kovalchuk’s goal, ending his assist drought at 10 games. His longest career assist drought is 12 games, set at the beginning of the 2015-16 season from October 7, 2015 through November 3, 2015.
–Austin Wagner logged 3:29 over seven shifts. His final shift ended 3:51 into the third period.
–The Kings attempted 70 shots (40 on goal, 19 blocked, 11 missed). The Rangers attempted 51 shots (25 on goal, 14 blocked, 12 missed). Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar tied with a game-high five shots on goal.
–Los Angeles won 32-of-61 faceoffs (52%). Adrian Kempe won 5-of-11, Anze Kopitar won 9-of-21, Kyle Clifford won 0-of-1, Nate Thompson won 5-of-7 and Jeff Carter won 13-of-21.
Monday, October 29 is an off-day for the Kings. Their next practice is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30.
–Lead photo via Noah Graham/NHLI