October 27 Rapid Reaction (feat. Jim Fox): Blackhawks 5, Kings 1

Rapid Reaction, feat. LA Kings Television Color Commentator Jim Fox:

Todd McLellan, on whether the challenging early schedule has provided a challenge:
Well, the schedule has nothing to do with it because the other teams are playing the exact same amount of games, so let’s clarify that the schedule is not an excuse, certainly for our team. We do need to get home and get some practice time in. I think this trip was good because it let us know that there are some players that probably can’t play in the league right now, so maybe we’ll have to make some changes. There are some veterans that really have to pick up their play. We’ll have to have a chat with them. And just the good sign about tonight’s game was the will stayed with it in the third period. Woe is us and the big, fat lips that were on the bench that were in the second, they disappeared, so that’s a good sign.

McLellan, on shaking up the lines in the third period and putting players in “different spots”:
They all were. We couldn’t keep watching what we were watching, so we needed to make a change. [Reporter: And did you like what you saw from the lines that you did put out there, or are you going to keep moving with changes?] Well, at 4-0, it’s not a real true, honest evaluation with the game. As I said, at least they picked their lips up a little bit and they played harder in the third period, which was a really good sign, because we saw in Vancouver that that didn’t happen before. I thought that happened in Minnesota as well – the other night, at least, we played through it. So, that’s a positive going forward. But we’ve got to find more players that can play at this level consistently, and we’ve got to make the ones that are playing here a lot better.

McLellan, on the biggest takeaway from the game and what he plans to address with the team:
Well, 200-foot game. D-zone, O-zone. Penalty kill took a hit on the trip, but it’s been better lately. The power play hasn’t scored. There are individuals that get a fair amount of ice time that don’t have an impact, so that’ll be the takeaway.

McLellan, on wanting to play with structure regardless of the score, and whether he saw that:
Yes. And that’s hard for people outside to believe, because we got drilled, 5-1. But we weren’t running all over the place, we didn’t give up multiple 2-on-1s or 3-on-1s. We still stayed within structure. Now, within the structure there, you have to have the skill and ability there to execute, and for me, anyhow, and I’m new, there are some that are showing that they can’t. So, maybe we have some guys in Ontario. Maybe we’ve got to shuffle the deck a little bit here, so we’ll make decisions as we go forward here this week.

McLellan, on using ice time, assignments to Ontario and other means to improve performance:
Ice time and Ontario and shuffling lines around and pairs. Again, if you truly evaluate the goals-against tonight, and there was a lot more out of the game than just the goals-against, they came off our tape. [Inaudible] that are making mistakes that shouldn’t be making mistakes at that time. I certainly don’t expect players to be perfect. There’s no such thing. But consistently executing on the plus side of the ledger is something we’re looking forward to.

McLellan, on Nikolai Prokhorkin’s performance:
Thought he played a good, strong game. He had a little fire in him and made some good offensive plays, some good defensive plays, wasn’t intimidated by anything. A good sign for him and for us.

Anze Kopitar, on the “sloppiness”:
A lot of their goals came off our sloppy play. You can’t afford them, you can’t spot them two, three goals and think that you can come back and play and get a win.

Kopitar, on any “residue” from last night:
I mean, it shouldn’t. Maybe it did, but it shouldn’t. Last night was last night, and tonight was tonight. At the end of the day, too much sloppiness on our part that leads to their goals.

Kopitar, on whether things “snowballed” against the team:
I mean, it’s no secret that the best game we played was the one in Winnipeg. You win that game, and you just play an average game in St. Louis and against a team like St. Louis, that’s obviously not enough. Last night, we let it get away, and obviously a little bit of fatigue on the back-to-back, which again shouldn’t be an excuse. We’ve just got to find a solution towards our sloppiness and essentially mistakes that lead to their goals. You can’t give up five goals and expect to win. We’ve been doing that a lot this year. So those numbers are going to have to come down, and essentially our offense is going to have to come.

Kopitar, on what the root of the struggles at the end of the trip were:
I don’t know what the reason is. There’s a combination of everything, yeah. There’s sometimes a little bit of fatigue, sometimes there’s just flat-out sloppiness, sometimes it’s just flat-out stupidity, sometimes it’s just being caught between our old system and the new system. That combines into a lot of goals against that we can’t give up in order to win games.

Drew Doughty, on any “carry-over” from Saturday’s loss:
I mean, there wasn’t supposed to be, but we didn’t start very well. I don’t know. We didn’t play well, basically, the whole game, I don’t think. The third period was maybe a little bit better, but we were just chasing the game right from the start.

Doughty, on the root of the team’s sloppiness:
I mean, I can’t tell you. I think individually, everyone would tell you they weren’t happy with their individual game today. When individually you can’t be happy with your own game, your team’s not going to come together and have a good game. So I think we just need to look at ourselves in the mirror and have better games individually, and everything will come into place.

Postgame Video

Postgame Notes

— With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 87-90-22 all-time against Chicago, a record that includes a road mark of 41-49-11. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak against the Blackhawks. These teams have two games remaining: November 2 at Staples Center and March 29 at United Center.

— With the loss, the Kings fell to 4-6-0 against the Western Conference, 2-3-0 against the Central Division, 2-6 in games decided by three or more goals, 1-7-0 when their opponent scores first, 0-5-0 when trailing after one period, 0-7-0 when trailing after two periods and 4-7-0 when outshooting their opponent.

— With Dylan Strome’s goal 2:33 in, Los Angeles has now allowed 10 goals in the first seven minutes of first periods this season.

— On the road trip, the Kings went 1-13 on the power play and 11-14 on the penalty kill.

— Sunday marked the seventh day in NHL history in which every game featured at least one team scoring five goals (minimu, 7 GP). The others: April 10, 1988, October 21, 1987, March 6, 1983, December 23, 1982, October 11, 1980 and April 9, 1980. (via NHL Public Relations)

— Five players tied with a team-high two points on the road trip: Anze Kopitar (1-1=2), Austin Wagner (1-1=2), Alex Iafallo (1-1=2), Sean Walker (1-1=2) and Drew Doughty (0-2=2). Dustin Brown was the shots-on-goal leader on the trip with 13, followed by Austin Wagner and Jeff Carter with 12.

— Three players were finished with positive 5×5 on-ice goal differentials on the trip: Sean Walker (4 GF, 2 GA), Alec Martinez (4 GF, 3 GA) and Adrian Kempe (3 GF, 2 GA). The players who finished the deepest in the red were Ben Hutton (2 GF, 8 GA), Drew Doughty (2 GF, 7 GA), Tyler Toffoli (1 GF, 6 GA) and Blake Lizotte (1 GF, 5 GA).

— In his NHL debut, Nikolai Prokhorkin logged three shots on goal, five total shot attempts, four hits, one takeaway and an even rating in 14:28 of ice time.

— Tyler Toffoli, who entered the night in fifth place in club history with a +83 career rating, finished with a minus-four for the first time in his career. He fell to sixth place as Bob Murdoch (+80) moved back into fifth.

— Los Angeles attempted 63 shots (39 on goal, 20 blocked, 4 missed). Chicago attempted 46 shots (26 on goal, 9 blocked, 11 missed). Dustin Brown finished with a game-high six shots on goal.

— The Kings won 29-of-57 faceoffs (51%). Adrian Kempe won 7-of-12, Anze Kopitar won 7-of-14, Alex Iafallo won 1-of-1, Trevor Lewis won 1-of-4, Dustin Brown won 0-of-1, Blake Lizotte won 3-of-8, Nikolai Prokhorkin won 4-of-7 and Jeff Carter won 6-of-10.

Monday, October 27 is a scheduled recovery day for the team. Should the schedule change, it will be updated upon arrival LAX.

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