December 23 Rapid Reaction: Kings 4, Golden Knights 3 (OT) - LA Kings Insider

Post-game Quotes

Willie Desjardins, on beating Vegas:
I haven’t had time to think about it, really. It’s nice to win every game. Like, whenever you win, it’s a good feeling. These are tough buildings, so to win in these building, it shows a lot of character in our team. [Reporter: Your first time in this building. Is this about as tough as you thought it was going to be?] Yeah, it was loud. We thought they’d have a good start. I thought we had a really good start to the game, which helped us. But throughout, it was kind of an up-and-down game. We got control of it for a bit, and towards the end they got control. Usually in overtime, lately we seem that we get all the chances in the overtime, and tonight it was the other way around and Cal came up big for us.

Desjardins, on scoring nine goals in two games against Vegas:
They’re a good team. Some nights they go in, some nights they don’t. But we had some chances. It was a good play on the overtime goal. Iafallo made a good wraparound. We just capitalized on some chances.

Desjardins, on what it would mean if Tyler Toffoli, Ilya Kovalchuk and Jeff Carter could get going:
We certainly need them to go, but Toffoli, especially, has had lots of shots. Every game, like, he had five after two periods. He had a couple goals called back. It seemed like everything was going wrong for him. It was good for both him and carter to score, but that line’s played pretty hard for us.

Desjardins, on whether anything was said before heading into overtime:
No, we have time off, so it was like we have nothing to save it for. Let’s go after it and find a way to win the game. They had a tough series here last year in the playoffs, and they wanted to find a way to win tonight.

Desjardins, on Kovalchuk contributing in the back-to-back:
Yeah, he’s been good. I think it’s always tough when you come in. Like, I’ve always said he likes to play, and he’s a guy that he’s good offensively. Like, he can create stuff offensively, so it’s been good to have him back.

Desjardins, on the team’s resilience in-game:
There are some guys that have been around, though, through playoff hockey, that they know what it takes. But in saying that we’ve got a lot of young guys too that had to find ways to battle through that. Vegas has a good team – they play hard. It was nice for us to find a way to win, though.

Desjardins, on his Christmas plans:
I’ll go back to Saskatchewan. [Reporter: Have you seen your family since you took the job?] Yeah, they came down for about a week in December, but I’ll go back for a couple days, so it’ll be great to see them. [Reporter: They’re not going to come down to L.A. in December?] Ha! No, they want me to go back to Saskatchewan, so it’ll be good.

Anze Kopitar, on wins in back-to-back games:
It was great. We haven’t had back-to-back wins this year yet, so it’s great. I mean, it’s almost a bit of a shame that Christmas break is coming up since we’re in the midst of this, but at the same time we played quite a few games, so it’ll be nice to give the body some rest.

Kopitar, on if beating Vegas twice this season is extra satisfying considering their playoff history:
We’re in a hole right now, so whoever we play we want to win and we need points, so it doesn’t matter if it’s Vegas or any other team.

Kopitar, on being aware of the standings:

Well, I think with all the social media and everything it’s hard not to see where you are and, you know, we have a few boards with standings in the locker room too, so you get a glimpse of it. It’s not pretty, but we’ll enjoy this one and, like I said, get some rest and make sure that we’re ready on Thursday. Is that what it is? The 27th.

Kopitar, on what he asked Santa for:
(Laughing) Uh, nothing, nothing. [Reporter: You’ve got everything possible?] Everything, everything.

Drew Doughty, on finishing with three wins before the break:
It’s going to make the break that much better and we feel really good in here. At the same time, we can’t let this break slow down our momentum. We’ve got to carry it through and carry it on after.

Doughty, on getting contributions from younger guys on the team:
Yeah, I guess that’s good. IA, he’s been producing lately, but he should be because he’s on Kopi’s line, so we expect him to produce and he’s been doing that just great. And I don’t even remember who scored our other goal now that you’re talking about. [Reporter: Amadio] Oh yeah, Mads. Mads is in and out of the lineup and a great kid and great player who plays really hard and I really like him as a player. He’s got great vision and for him to get one when he’s not playing a lot of minutes is huge. The young guys have played great for us in this winning streak and obviously our vets and our goalies have played great too.

Doughty, on whether he looks at the standings or just keeps his head down and keep going:
I think just put your head down and keep going. You never know what can happen, we know we’re pretty far out of it. To be honest, I don’t think anyone’s really looking at it, I think everyone’s kind of blocked that out. But we know that if we can win let’s say 15 out of 20, 17 out of 20, something like that, we might be back in the picture, you never know, so we’ve just got to control what we’re doing and win some hockey games.

Post-game Notes

–With the win, Los Angeles improved to 4-1-1 all-time against Vegas, a record that includes a road mark of 2-1-0. The Kings have won four straight regular season games in the series since a 3-2 home overtime loss on December 28, 2017. Los Angeles improved to 2-0-0 in the season series, with games remainingon December 29 at Staples Center, January 1 at T-Mobile Arena and April 6 at Staples Center. The Kings play the Golden Knights five times and all other Pacific Division teams four times.

–With the win, Los Angeles improved to 9-11-1 against the Western Conference, 6-5-1 against the Pacific Division, 5-4-3 in one-goal games, 3-17-2 when their opponent scores first, 2-13-2 when trailing after one period, 4-3-1 when tied after two periods, 4-3 in games that extend past regulation, 3-3 in games decided in overtime and 5-8-1 when outshooting their opponent.

–The Kings lead the league with 36 overtime wins since the shift to three-on-three overtime prior to 2015-16. With a record of 36-17, their .679 overtime win percentage over this span ranks second in the league behind Calgary (.700). Tyler Toffoli scored his third career overtime goal; his two previous overtime game-winners came on December 16, 2016 (Matt Murray; 1-0 LAK) and October 28, 2017 (Tuukka Rask; 2-1 LAK).

–Los Angeles won three straight games for the first time this season. All three teams (vs WPG, @ SJS, @ VGK) advanced to the second round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have scored at least three goals in four straight games. Prior to this stretch, they had scored as many as three goals in consecutive games only twice.

–The Kings’ 14-20-3 record is the club’s worst mark at the Christmas break since they were 12-23-2 in 2007-08. That season, Los Angeles lost its final seven games in regulation going into the break and the first game coming out of it.

–With his second period goal, Alex Iafallo (1-0=1) extended his point streak to a career-long seven games (4-5=9). The streak is the longest held by a King this season.

–Tyler Toffoli ended an 18-game goalless drought with his first goal since his second period goal on Corey Crawford on November 16.

–Los Angeles attempted 54 shots (32 on goal, 15 blocked, 12 missed). Vegas attempted 53 shots (25 on goal, 16 blocked, 12 missed). Tyler Toffoli led all skaters with seven shots on goal.

–The Kings won 25-of-50 faceoffs (50%). Michael Amadio won 2-of-7, Anze Kopitar won 16-of-28, Nate Thompson won 6-of-9 and Jeff Carter won 1-of-6.

The Kings are currently on the league-mandated Christmas break. Their next practice is the morning skate scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 27 in advance of that night’s game against Arizona.

Post-game Highlights

–Lead photo via Ethan Miller/Getty Images