Rapid Reaction feat. The Royal Half
Willie Desjardins, on the win:
I thought it was good. I said before, to me it was important. I always like winning. You think about things all summer, and it’s nice to be able to go away with one win, and when you think back, it’s a good feeling, and the guys played hard. Like, that team played good tonight. Vegas was great in the second period, and we kind of had to regroup and find a way in the third.
Desjardins, on whether there was one singular moment that defined the last five months:
That’s hard, because you don’t want one moment to define everything for you because there are so many moments in the year. I guess it depends too how you want to look at it. In a golf course, you can see all the sand traps or you could see the big green, and it’s ‘which one do you want to look at?’ I guess I always choose to look at the big greens. For me it’s to look at the good things. I have a lot of respect for the guys in that room. We went into some tough situations this year where I knew it would be tough for us to find a way to win, and we found ways to win. I think if Jonathan Quick had a tough game, we could bring him back, and man, he plays great. He played great tonight. We have a lot of character, and guys care. Martinez and Brown and guys are beat up, and the young guys too. So, for me when I look back, it’s not one moment. It was an honor to coach the team. It’s a great franchise, and it was great to be a part of it.
Desjardins, on any thoughts about his coaching future:
No, maybe I should enjoy the win tonight and worry about that in the coming weeks, I think.
Anze Kopitar, on if Brown gave him a hard time about scoring his first power play goal of the season:
Yeah, he actually got the puck for me. That was nice.
Kopitar, on whether there is a sense of relief now that the season is over:
Yeah, I mean it’s certainly not the season that we wanted. Wanted, expected, all of the above. So there’s, yeah, some sorts of relief. It was nice to end it on a good note, but we can’t forget obviously. We’ve got to make sure that we really think about this one and get ready for next year.
Brown, on his accomplishments this season:
I still feel like I’ve got a lot to give. That’s my priority. Now that we’re not playing hockey, it’s finding a way to get a little bit better in the summertime.
Brown, on separating his personal accomplishments from the team’s season:
It’s one of those things where if you can be good individually, if everyone is better individually, you’re better collectively. On the flip side of that, I’ve had probably maybe one of my worst seasons, turned it around and played well in the the playoffs, and we won the Stanley Cup. If you were asking me, I’d trade it right now.
Dustin Brown, on if there is a sense of relief now that the season is over:
It’s always hard when you’re not in the playoffs and you don’t have a chance to play, especially knowing what we’re missing out on. But the flip side of that is I think guys, both young guys and veteran guys that have been here, it’s a huge opportunity to make sure that we’re prepared. Got lots of time.
Blake Lizotte, on playing in his first NHL game:
It was great.
Lizotte, on the victory making his first NHL game a bit sweeter:
It’s obviously great. The morale on the bench and in the room was a lot better, so obviously it was great to win and just fun to be a part of.
Lizotte, on what was going through his mind as he stepped on the ice for his first shift:
It was a lot of nerves, but all the guys in the room were really good to me and gave me some advice and kind of calmed me down and said, ‘You’ll be fine out there. Just play your game, you’re here for a reason.’ So that just kind of calmed me down, but after the first shift I felt a lot better for sure.
Lizotte, on making his debut on the same night as former St. Cloud teammate Jimmy Schuldt:
During warmups we chatted a bit and just said, ‘congrats’ and ‘how cool is this?’ You’re sitting on the blue line and you’ve got guys like Doughty and Marchessault and a lot of great players around us, so back in St. Cloud a week ago, it was pretty cool to be here.
Lizotte, on carpooling with Kopitar to the game:
I did. He offered to pick me up, so his 1,000th celebration and he offered to come get me, so he’s one heck of a guy.
Lizotte, on who was in charge of the radio on the drive to Staples:
Him for sure. He’s got his playlist and that was great.
— With the win, Los Angeles improved to 5-3-1 all-time against Vegas, a record that includes a home mark of 3-1-1. The Kings won the regular season series, going 3-2-0 against the lone Pacific Division team they played five times. They played all other Pacific teams four times.
— With the win, Los Angeles finished the season 22-23-5 against the Western Conference, 14-12-3 against the Pacific Division, 12-21 in games decided by three or more goals, 21-6-3 when scoring first, 13-0-2 when loeading after the first period, 20-1-3 when leading after the second period, 12-17-3 when outshooting their opponent and 19-9-3 against teams they had previously played in the playoffs this decade (New York, New Jersey, Arizona, San Jose, St. Louis, Chicago, Anaheim, Vancouver, Vegas).
— The Kings finished 3-7-1 in October, 6-9-0 in November, 7-5-2 in December, 4-5-1 in January, 3-7-4 in February, 6-7-1 in March and 2-2-0 in April.
— Los Angeles’ 71 points in 82 games came out to a rate of .866 points per game. Seasons in which their point rates were lower were 1968-69 (.763), 1969-70 (.500), 1970-71 (.808), 1971-72 (.628), 1981-82 (.788), 1982-83 (.825), 1983-84 (.738), 1985-86 (.675), 1987-88 (.850), 1993-94 (.786), 1994-95 (.854), 1995-96 (.805), 1996-97 (.817), 1998-99 (.841) and 2006-07 (.829). Teams received a point for losing in overtime in 1999-00, shootouts were implemented in 2005-06, and three-on-three overtime was instituted in 2015-16, giving teams extra opportunities to bank points.
— The Kings’ 15.8% power play was their lowest since a 15.1% rate in 2013-14 and the third-worst rate since the 2004-05 work stoppage. Their 76.5% power play was the club’s lowest rate since a 75.9% power play in 1989-90.
— The win was the 999th home win in franchise history.
— Drew Doughty, Alex Iafallo and Tyler Toffoli were the three Kings to appear in all 82 games. Doughty has appeared in 410 consecutive games, Toffoli 192. Iafallo missed the final four games of the 2017-18 season and has appeared in 82 straight.
— Anze Kopitar registered his first power play goal of the season with his third period marker. He nished with a team-best 18 power play assists.
— Matt Roy recorded his first career game-winning goal. He has points in each of the last two games (1-1=2) and ended his rookie season with two goals, six points and a minus-one record in 25 games.
— In his NHL debut, Blake Lizotte appeared in 11:12, totaling one shot on goal, one attempt blocked, one takeaway and one blocked shot with a minus-one rating. He won four of eight faceoffs.
— Double-digit goal scsorers were Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar (22), followed by Ilya Kovalchuk (16), Alex Iafallo (15), Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli (13), Adrian Kempe and Austin Wagner (12) and Kyle Clifford (11). Kopitar led the Kings in scoriong with 22 goals and 60 points in 81 games.
— Carl Grundstrom registered his first career assist on Kopitar’s goal.
— Los Angeles attempted 59 shots (32 on goal, 16 blocked, 11 missed). Vegas attempted 62 shots (31 on goal, 16 blocked, 15 missed). Cody Eakin led all skaters with five shots on goal, while Trevor Lewis and Jeff Carter tied with a team-high four shots for Los Angeles.
— The Kings won 28-of-60 faceoffs (47%). Adrian Kempe won 4-of-10, Anze Kopitar won 12-of-22, Ilya Kovalchuk won 1-of-1, Trevor Lewis won 0-of-1, Blake Lizotte won 4-of-8 and Jeff Carter won 7-of-11.
AS VOTED BY THE MEDIA
Bill Libby Memorial Award for Most Valuable Player: Dustin Brown
– presented by McDonald’s
Mark Bavis Memorial Award for Best Newcomer: Austin Wagner
Outstanding Defenseman: Drew Doughty
Defensive Player: Jack Campbell
AS VOTED BY THE KINGS PLAYERS
Ace Bailey Memorial Award for Most Inspirational: Dustin Brown, Kyle Clifford (co-winners)
Unsung Hero: Jack Campbell
AS SELECTED BY THE KINGS CARE FOUNDATION
Jim Fox Community Service: Austin Wagner
AS SELECTED BY THE KINGS HOCKEY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
Daryl Evans Youth Hockey Service: Tyler Toffoli
AS SELECTED BY THE KINGS BOOSTER CLUB
Most Popular Player: Dustin Brown
Leading Scorer: Anze Kopitar
Alex Iafallo was selected as the winner of the McDonald’s Player of the Year award (as selected by Kings fans).
Jack Campbell was selected as the club’s Masterton Memorial Trophy nominee (as selected by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association).
Tyler Toffoli was selected as the club’s King Clancy Memorial Trophy nominee (as awarded to the Player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community).
–Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI