December 22 Rapid Reaction: Kings 3, Sharks 2 (OT) - LA Kings Insider

Post-game Quotes

Willie Desjardins, on whether he has an update on Austin Wagner:
Nope, not right now.

Desjardins, on Erik Karlsson’s hit on Wagner:
It’s easier for me once I’ve watched the video. He got him in the head. Did he get the shoulder first? I don’t know. But, he did his head, though. [Reporter: Is he going with you to Vegas, or going back to L.A.?] I haven’t talked to medical yet. [Reporter: How do we classify the injury?] I’ll have to talk to medical, see where they’re at.

Desjardins, on whether he sensed Karlsson was highly engaged in a rivalry game:
He’s a good player. Like, he’s just a good player, so I would think that’s how he plays most nights. I don’t think there’d be anything different about tonight. But he was involved tonight and he created a lot for them.

Desjardins, on Kovalchuk’s return to the lineup:
He works hard off the ice. He’s excited for every shift, like, he’s excited to get out there. It was good. He got two big goals for us. That power play was nice to get a power play early, too. Like, we hadn’t been scoring on that, and to get something in overtime was great for him.

Desjardins, on consecutive wins against quality opponents, and another test Sunday in Vegas:
It is, because those are good teams, and this is a tough building, too. It was good to get these wins, but the bottom line is they’re all going to be hard. Every night you get an opponent and they seem to be great, and Vegas is going to be a good challenge again, like a tough challenge, so we just have to keep going and keep playing hard.

Desjardins, on Vegas having lost in overtime on Saturday:
Yeah, they’ll be really ready for us. We know that, so we have to be on top of our game.

Desjardins, on whether he was weighing how to use Kovalchuk, given his injury and pre-injury usage:
Maybe you do a little bit, but I felt going in, I had to try to give him a chance to show that he was ready to play. Like, I felt I had to give him an opportunity, and some of those games he didn’t have quite as much, but tonight, like, overtime, there’s a guy that, yeah I could’ve gone [with someone else], but I went with him because I thought he deserved a chance. He played well tonight, and he deserved a chance in overtime. [Reporter: When he was breaking in there, are you thinking, ‘this is over?’] Ha, I thought it was over when Kopi went in the first time, to tell you the truth. I didn’t know quite how much time, if he was going to be able to bring it over or not – like, there were some guys coming from behind. But he made a great play and a great shot.

Desjardins, on whether he could tell Kovalchuk was on his game through the power play goal:
No, he had started earlier there. First shift of the game, he had a good shift, he made a couple plays. He had two or three chances outside the goals, so he was around the puck tonight, for sure.

Desjardins, on the mood and message after San Jose tied the game late:
It wasn’t a lot. It was tough to get that one scored late, for sure. But for us, we just have to capitalize here in overtime. We got one point on the road, which is big, so then it’s your chance to go after it to get the second. We moved on from that right away.

Ilya Kovalchuk, on what worked on the power play setup and why it hasn’t been as successful in the past:
It’s tough to say. You know, we try and we change the units to find the right the right unit to get it going more, but it’s good we scored tonight. It was a big goal for us, so hopefully now we start doing better on the power play.

Kovalchuk, on his power play goal:
Muzz, he makes a great pass. He was waiting, waiting and I got it off the one-timer, so it was good.

Kovalchuk, on his overtime game-winner:
I think thing was he (Evander Kane) missed the net and then I got the breakaway, so I tried to do what I’m capable of and I scored.

Kovalchuk, on being at the end of his shift and what was going through his head before the breakaway:
I was not going to go change. This might be my last change, so I was staying there.

Kovalchuk, on how he felt in his first game back after his injury:
I feel good actually. Obviously my linemates helped me a lot, but I just want to say thanks to all the trainers, doctors. They did a great job and they trained really well, and I feel even better than before I got injured.

Kovalchuk, on his power play goal celebration:
Yeah, I didn’t score for like 21 games, so I really wanted a goal.

Kovalchuk, on whether tonight’s game was the quality of play he envisioned when he signed:
Yeah, I think the guys started last game against Winnipeg. It was a solid game against a really good team, so we know what we can do, we just have to do.

Kovalchuk, on what scoring the power play goal did for his confidence:
As a forward you want to score, especially when the coach gives you a chance on the power play, and I think we’re one of the worst in the league in PP, and you look at our team on paper, there’s no way we’ve got to be [down] there. We’ve got to be out there, so we work hard in practice to be better in that, and we did today.

Alex Iafallo, on Kovalchuk making a difference in tonight’s game:
Oh yeah, he was flying today and that gives us momentum and he’s got a great shot and he proved it today, so really good game out of him.

Iafallo, on whether getting two back-to-back wins is a confidence boost:
You get both, just gain of momentum and you definitely get a vibe in the room and if everybody’s going out at the same time, you know, so we just keep going out and getting momentum out of every game and it’s going to be huge for us.

Iafallo, on Kovalchuk’s goal-celebration on his power play goal:
It was awesome. It gives us energy too and that’s what we need, energy and big goals like that to get us going.

Iafallo, on what was going though his mind when he saw Kovalchuck had the puck on a breakaway:
That it’s going in. But no, he had a strong game and to finish it off there and help us get two points is huge.

Iafallo, on his goal:
Thommer made a nice play up to me, I just dropped it to Brownie and Brownie was driving the net, faked and made a nice play to me, and I just had to hammer it.

Iafallo, on Erik Karlsson’s hit on Wagner:
That’s a tough one and obviously you want to protect your teammate, but I hope Wags is doing well and we’re going to go check on him right now. Yeah, that’s a tough hit and it’s just got to flick off that and take care of your teammates.

Iafallo, on the rivalry between the two teams:
It’s a good rivalry we’ve got and I’m glad we’re on top of that one.

Post-game Notes

–With the overtime win, Los Angeles improved to 66-66-20 all-time against San Jose, a record that includes a road mark of 27-37-12 and an overtime mark (W-L-T) of 12-15-7. The Kings are 6-5-0 in their last 11 visits to SAP Center. Each team is 1-0-1 in the season series with games remaining on January 7 at SAP Center and March 21 at Staples Center.

–With the overtime win, Los Angeles improved to 8-11-1 against the Western Confernece, 5-5-1 against the Pacific Division, 4-4-3 in one-goal games, 11-3-1 when scoring first, 5-0-0 when leading after the first period, 10-1-1 when leading after the second period, 3-3 in games that extend past regulation, 2-3 in games decided in overtime and 1-0-0 when shots on goal are tied.

— The Kings lead the league with 35 overtime wins since the shift to three-on-three overtime prior to 2015-16. With a record of 35-17, their .673 overtime win percentage over this span ranks second behind Calgary (.700) and ahead of Vegas (.647) after the Golden Knights’ overtime loss to Montreal Saturday. Ilya Kovalchuk recorded his 15th career overtime goal and first since scoring on Michal Neuvirth in New Jersey’s 3-2 win versus Washington on January 25, 2013.

–Los Angeles played the 4,000th regular season game in club history. Tomorrow, they will play the 2,000th regular season road game in club history.

–The Kings have scored at least three goals in three straight games for the first time this season.

–Los Angeles was credited with 29 blocked shots (4-Doughty, 4-Amadio, 3-Muzzin, 3-Luff, 2-Leipsic, 2-Iafallo, 2-Walker, 2-Toffoli, 1-Kempe, 1-Kopitar, 1-Kovalchuk, 1-Brown, 1-Thompson, 1-Carter, 1-Brickley).

–Only three shots on goal were registered by Kings defensemen. Jake Muzzin, Derek Forbort and Sean Walker all recorded one shot.

–Ilya Kovalchuk’s last multi-goal game came in a 6-3 loss at Carolina when he scored twice on Dan Ellis on March 9, 2013. His last game-winning goal was scored on Marc-Andre Fleury at the 13:50 mark of the third period in a 3-2 win versus Pittsburgh on April 25, 2013.

–Los Angeles attempted 46 shots (31 on goal, 11 blocked, 4 missed). San Jose attempted 76 shots (31 on goal, 29 blocked, 16 missed). Ilya Kovalchuk led all skaters with six shots on goal.

–The Kings won 31-of-63 faceoffs (49%). Adrian Kempe won 0-of-1, Michael Amadio won 5-of-8, Anze Kopitar won 16-of-27, Dustin Brown won 0-of-1, Nate Thompson won 3-of-9 and Jeff Carter won 7-of-17.

Post-game Highlights

–Lead photo via Brandon Magnus/NHLI