John Stevens, on what he liked most about the team’s effort tonight:
I just liked the way we came out and played the game. Our preparation of the play of the game on the checking side of things, fast, set us up to really play fast with the puck and I thought the changes we made on defense really helped us tonight and kind of changed the feel of those periods around. I think it really helped us. Fantenberg came in and played a really good game. It started with that–I thought their gaps were really good and they did a good job of getting back to pucks quickly, but I just thought we checked a lot faster and when we checked faster we had the support for the puck when we regained possession so that was probably the big thing for me.
Stevens, on having a defensive jump tonight and moving the puck better:
Our whole approach to the game in terms of our preparation, in terms of Columbus plays really hard, and we had to match their work ethic tonight. I thought our mindset was exactly that. I thought the PK was the best it’s been all year in terms of pressure, not just because they scored, but because they put pressure on entries and not just give up the zone and allow extended zone time. Power play, we went right into attack mode and scored a big goal so there was just a 5-on-5 working mindset that carried over to special teams. It was encouraging to see.
Stevens, on the impact of having Brown and Kopitar on the power play:
They’re huge. They usually start it off so they get you started on the right foot and it usually starts with a faceoff win and a clear, forcing the other team to get in the zone. Then if you can hold the zone, it allows you to get fresh people on the ice. They’re tremendous and they put good pressure on the puck. They read off each other really well and created some offense from it tonight. Aside from the offense, I just really love the way they started things out for us where we got pressure and clears right away that allowed us to kind of disrupt the other team’s power play a little bit and get fresh people on the ice, which I think really is always important.
Stevens, on Kovalchuk’s passing ability:
I think Kovy’s passed the puck–I’ve said this all along–I think even the play he made on the goal was a great pass. He’s a really quality passer outside of the way he shoots the puck and I thought Tyler on that line had really good game on the wall. That’s usually his bread and butter and I thought tonight he looked like the old Tyler where he got position on pucks on the wall and made plays off the wall and that usually leads to exits out of your zone. The three of them had good chemistry tonight and they should and we’re going to need them to.
Stevens, on Campbell’s performance:
Soupy looked really solid and composed. He looked really calm in the net and he held on to pucks. His puck handling is a big help for us back there and I thought he played as well as he’s played all year just because he was under control the whole time. I thought he played a really solid game for us.
Stevens, on his thought process behind the change in defensive pairs:
We knew Fantenberg was going to come back in. We have access to analytics, what works and what doesn’t. We had our old veteran guy like Dion who’s a real emotional leader and has played on and off with Drew. We thought that would be a good fit for us and it was. We have tried Forbort and Fantenberg together and their numbers were favorable so we figured why not even out the minutes a little bit and allow us to move the pucks a little better and get all three pairs a little more involved. I know it’s only one game, but I thought our defense, the gaps were really good, we moved the puck much better tonight.
Dustin Brown, on the overall performance of the team:
I thought we played really well. I think maybe the most important thing is they had extended zone time a few shifts and we played like Kings play in our zone. That’s been a staple of ours for a decade and I think we did exactly what we’re known for and they had a lot of moving parts and a lot of puck movement and we kind of bent but didn’t break and that’s been a big part of our success and needs to be a big part if we want to be successful this year.
Brown, on the impact that Kopitar’s goal had:
We don’t want to give up the goal that we gave up early. Go on the penalty kill, get Kopi’s goal is a huge goal I think it completely changed the momentum of the whole feel of the game.
Brown, on scoring first:
Playing with a lead, especially the way we play, we can be successful if we get off to good starts. I think the key is the puck goes in the net because we shoot it towards the net, not because we’re trying to make a play. I know he was trying to make a play to the net, but I think we need more of that in our game. Getting guys around the net, getting traffic, and getting pucks there. I think it went off of one of the defensemen. You’re going to get a lot of goals when you get guys there and bodies there.
Brown, on Carter and Kovalchuck developing chemistry:
That’s something we’re all learning about Kovy. We didn’t play him in the west, we didn’t play him much, but he scored 400 goals or whatever it is in this league, so everyone expects him to shoot, but he’s a really good passer and I think it makes our power play dangerous. It’s something we’ve been missing. We’ve never had a player quite like Kovy. Him and Carts have both looked really well the last couple of games and not just because they’re scoring goals and making plays. They’re moving well and doing a lot of other things.
Brown, on if he knew what move he would make on the penalty shot:
I was planning on shooting. I generally shoot nowadays. But Bobrovsky came out really far. He was really aggressive so I kind of switched it up last second and I have a couple moves I can do off of it. Kind of just worked out for me.
Brown, on if he remembers when the last time he took a penalty shot was:
Somebody told me, maybe it was the bench interview, I had a penalty shot in 2015, shorthanded. It was in Carolina. I’ve had good results and bad results–I’ve lost the puck on a penalty shot before so tonight was a little better.
Jack Campbell, on getting the lead early:
It was huge. Obviously they said we hadn’t done that since Montreal and it’s a big thing. It gives you confidence it kind of gives you a spark, but I thought we just played the right way defensively and that led to a really strong offense tonight. It was a really big game by everybody tonight.
Campbell, on if the start felt different in terms of the quality of chances and the amount of time spent in the zone:
Yeah, we talked about making it an in-zone, defensive-zone adjustment this morning and that’s not easy to do on game days to switch that and I thought the guys did a great job all night of doing that and it led to a lot of offensive chances and goals so it was really exciting.
Campbell, on limiting Columbus’ shooting chances:
They have a great lineup as far as skilled forwards and even some defensemen that can jump in the rush, but i just think we stayed over top of ‘em all night and that’s what we talked about. Everybody just played exactly how we wanted to and the level of compete–I thought we just competed harder and we won a lot of puck battles that eliminated their offensive zone time and shots on goal– so it was great.
Campbell, on what the win does for team morale:
Everybody in this room loves to win and we needed it so it’s a big win. We got to keep her going here, but just making that adjustment and seeing the success that we can have doing it and trusting the system and having a great game, it’s really exciting. We just want to have a nice day off, but then come back in Monday ready to work.
Campbell, on this being the first game since Montreal that the Kings haven’t allowed a first period goal:
Kind of made that adjustment like I said today, and I think it changed a lot of the type of chances we gave up. I don’t think we gave up much and when we did have maybe a breakdown or something, we were in the right position to have a good stick on the puck or a guys were in shot lanes blocking shots. I think that’s huge because we get a shot block and then we’re gone, going the other way into the offensive zone. I think that’s probably a big reason why we didn’t give one up tonight and we won the game so it was good.
-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI