Rapid Reaction, feat. Andrew Knoll of the New York Times
Willie Desjardins, on whether Nashville’s first goal was a “microcosm” of the season:
A little bit. I didn’t think we had a great start in the game, which we control. We had a couple opportunities first period, power plays, we just didn’t generate enough. I don’t think we were hungry enough in the first. I thought we had a better second, though. I thought the second we came with more energy, and I thought the third, we were trying to play with energy, too, but they’re a pretty good team. Their D are hard to handle. But the first period wasn’t good enough for us.
Desjardins, on the abrupt momentum shift midway through the second period:
I think when you’re pressing, you’re gambling a little bit, and we were gambling and they turned a couple. The ones they scored on probably weren’t the ones they should’ve. It’s not that they didn’t have some other chances they could’ve scored on – they did. But probably the ones they got, they got some breaks on those two. That has been a bit of the way the year’s gone. We’ve mis-capitalized, and they came back. But we can control what we can do. We talked about it before the game about being hungrier and playing harder, and I think we can play better.
Desjardins, on the performance against a contending team:
They’re a good team – they are a good team. They’re a hard team to play. They’ve got good D, they’ve got depth through their lines, good goaltending, too, so they are a good team to play, a hard team to play, but I’m not looking at them. I’m just looking at what we have to do and where we’re at, and I think we can be a little better.
Desjardins, on the “statement” Austin Wagner has made this season:
He’s made a good statement. He got another one again tonight. Cliffy went in hard on that, made a good hit. Puck turned, the two guys were battling, and that’s how you score, when you battle. That line seems to do it every night, and if you look at them, they’re getting rewarded. I think we can learn from that line, how hard they play every shift. [Reporter: Is he one of the young guys that has particularly stuck out to you?] He has throughout the year. We missed him when he was out of the lineup. He’s got good speed, and every game he brings that and he adds to it. Something you need is those young guys going, and we’ve got to get more young guys going.
Anze Kopitar, on tonight’s effort:
I think the effort was there, it was just the start was slow. Even though it was a slow start, we had to block some shots. Quickie made some definitely above average saves, but coming off a three day break, not that you expect that start, but it’s certainly not the end of the world and I think we kind of got legs underneath us and we started playing. I thought the start of the second period was good, we were on it and then what was it — in the span of five minutes we give up the two and then we’re playing catch-up and that just can’t happen. That’s the bottom line.
Kopitar, on the momentum shifting part way through the second period:
We had our fair share of chances in the second and they go down on a pretty much, I mean not so much now, but a pretty much harmless rush and it bounces off a few guys and it goes in. And then shortly after the get another one and that’s about it.
Austin Wagner, on Nashville taking advantage of momentum shifts in the game:
We didn’t work hard enough, obviously. That first period wasn’t good enough. So, got a game the day after tomorrow, so got to get ready for that one.
Wagner, on building trust with his teammates based on his backchecking ability:
Every guy on this team knows if you’re the third guy high you have to get back first, so I think I thought that at the beginning of the year and we knew that and you see everybody doing it, not just me. But it’s part of my job, so I did it. But we need to get a win.
Wagner, on what he wants to take into Saturday’s game:
When we forecheck the team and get on their D, their D tend to turn over a lot of pucks. We’ve seen that tonight even with some of the better D in the league on their team. But last time we played Florida we obviously weren’t good enough, so there’s going to be emotions in that game and we’ve just got to be ready to go.
Wagner, on whether it took a few shifts to get his legs under him:
No, I’ve been practicing with the team all week, so I had to be ready to go tonight. But we didn’t get the two points, so it’s not good enough I guess.
Wagner, on scoring his tenth goal of the season:
Great play by Lew. Cliff was the one that started it all by taking it to make the play. That’s our job is to forecheck. That’s probably our biggest asset as our line. We do have skill and we do have speed, but when we get on the forecheck we’re dangerous, so we did that all night long. We’ve just got to keep doing that.
Wagner, on whether he envisioned scoring 10 goals at the beginning of the season:
Going into this year, my goal was to make the team, let alone just play some games. But when I didn’t make the team, my goal was to try and stick. Obviously points are nice, but I have more jobs than just that, so I’ve just got to focus on that stuff and try keep playing with some confidence out there, but also we have 12 games left on the year and we want to finish on a high note and show teams what we’re made of. We’ve just got to be ready to go on Saturday.
–With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 34-30-9 all-time against Nashville, a record that includes a home mark of 17-16-4. The Predators have beaten the Kings six straight times – five times in regulation, once in overtime – since Jarome Iginla’s overtime game-winner on March 9, 2017. They swept the season series for the second consecutive year.
–With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 16-19-4 against the Western Conference, 7-10-2 against the Central Division, 3-13 in two-goal games, 7-33-6 when their opponent scores the first goal, 3-23-3 when trailing after one period, 1-31-2 when trailing after two periods and 15-21-6 when outshot by their opponent.
–The Kings’ 37 regulation losses are the most they’ve compiled in one season since 2008-09, when they also had 37. The record for most losses in one season is 52, set in in 1969-70, when they went 14-52-10.
–With an assist on Austin Wagner’s second period goal, Matt Roy recorded his first NHL point in his 13th NHL game.
–With his 10th goal of the season, Wagner joined Anze Kopitar (19 goals), Dustin Brown (17 goals), Ilya Kovalchuk (14 goals), Alex Iafallo (14 goals), Tyler Toffoli (12 goals), Adrian Kempe (11 goals) and Jeff Carter (10 goals) in cracking double-digits in goals.
–Carter has played 18 games since his last goal, January 15 at Minnesota.
–Drew Doughty appeared in his 398th consecutive game.
–Los Angeles attempted 60 shots (26 on goal, 19 blocked, 15 missed). Nashville attempted 58 shots (34 on goal, 11 blocked, 13 missed). Alec Martinez, Filip Forsberg, Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson tied with a game-high four shots on goal. Roman Josi was credited with a game-high five blocked shots.
–The Kings won 19-of-45 faceoffs (42%). Adrian Kempe won 3-of-8, Anze Kopitar won 12-of-20, Trevor Lewis won 4-of-9 and Jeff Carter won 0-of-8.
The Kings are scheduled to practice at 11:00 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center on Friday, March 15.
–Lead photo via Harry How/Getty Images