November 2 Rapid Reaction: Kings 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)

Todd McLellan, on how it feels to have a forecheck described as “suffocating”:
Well, it makes me feel good, but it should make them feel really good. That’s what we want to hang our hat on. I didn’t think we played that way for five, six, seven periods. So, tonight we were able to sustain it, line one, two, three and four, and we just kept handing off good shifts and momentum was built and we sustained it. The last three or four games, we maybe had a good shift, and then a not-so-good shift, and we never got to build anything throughout the night. We found a way tonight, s o it’s a good thing.

McLellan, on executing the system but largely remaining out of the penalty box:
Yeah, it’s a good point that there are two parts to it. One was the penalty part. We talked a lot about checking with our legs, keeping our sticks out of the ice, and we were good in that area, and then the structure part was really good. We made one mistake on the penalty kill. It was in our net, which was disappointing, but we can fix that, and we still need to find some polish somehow on the power play. I think we had 10 or 12 shots. Not always quality shots, but we did have some really good looks at the net and find somebody that can squeak one through the pads on a regular basis would be nice, but we’ll eventually get to that.

McLellan, on Drew Doughty’s game-winning goal:
You count on players like that to provide big moments, both offensively and defensively and he provided one of those tonight for us. He made a good play on the initial two-on-one, and I think he was building momentum to come back to our end. Usually it’s a track meet – two-on-one one way, two-on-one the other – and he saw the loose puck, was smart enough and had enough poise to break his skating down and put it in, so good for him- [Reporter: Drew, he admitted that he’s still having trouble adapting to your system. A Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, he said he’s not satisfied, he said he’s on the ice for too many goals. Your thoughts on is he having issues adapting to what you want from him?] We all have issues. I have issues adapting to the players and figuring out their personalities. It’s not going to be easy. Change is hard, and it is for all of us. It’s human nature just to do what you’re comfortable with. In my mind, Drew’s a Norris Trophy winner regardless of whether we’re playing pond hockey or whether we’re playing in Game 7 of a championship or Game 13 or 14 of the regular season. It’s hard to be perfect, and I think Drew’s striving to be perfect right now. It doesn’t exist, so just be the best you can be. I think he’s getting better every night. He’s more comfotab;e on the power play. The breakout part of the power play is so much better now than it was earlier in the year. He made some great defensive plays tonight where he used his body or his stick. Can you imagine life without him? So that probably answers the question.

McLellan, on relying on veterans successful in three-on-three overtime, and how to instill tweaks:
It’s an interesting question. We met a lot in the summer, we discussed all areas of the game. … We reviewed it at the beginning of the year, but that’s two months ago, so I’m standing on the bench, and I look over at Marco and say, OK, who plays in these situations? It just hasn’t been on our mind, we hadn’t thought about it a lot. But he did mention some names in the past that have had a lot of success, so our first experience was successful with it, and we’ll see where we go the rest of the time. But I thought the veterans did a good job with having some poise in those situations.

McLellan, on how far off Drew Doughty is from his best:
I think Drew could probably answer that question a lot better than I can. I think that comment about ‘can you imagine life without him’ shows you exactly what I think of him, and Drew’s game, if it’s 70% on any given night, we’ll take that. But I know he wants to be 101%, and he’s pushing himself to be that every night, and we’re going to keep pushing him, too. He’s very hard on himself, he’s very self-critical, and I think that’s what the best individuals always do, You look at any sport, they’re striving to be the best, and he’s doing that now.

McLellan, on Tyler Toffoli and Michael Amadio’s performances:
Excellent. Excellent, both of them. Outstanding games. I thought that Tyler was really good on the boards, I thought he showed a lot of poise over bouncing pucks, he was able to settle things down. Over time hew worked really hard to defend and to create. Really happy for him, and glad he took advantage of the opportunity he got, and I’m proud of him. It’s not easy going through what he went through, and Michael would be the same thing. I thought Mods had more energy in his game tonight. He didn’t look as lethargic or as tired, and maybe that was the case. Maybe he was a little bit tired. But both of them had really good games. I thought Dustin Brown had his best game in a little while. So, we found some players that we needed to find, and now it’s up to them to carry it forward.

McLellan, on whether benching Tyler Toffoli could resonate with other players:
The message that was sent was Ty-specific. I have a bigger, greater relationship with Ty because I spent a whole World Championship, a month and a bit with him, and I saw the way he could play and the intensity that he brought to the game, and I saw it again tonight, so that’s really good. All we want to do was win. We want to put the best players on the ice, and there’s a different individual standard that each individual sets or has set for themselves based on their past play and where they can go, and that’s how we evaluate them. So hopefully we’re not in that situation where we have to sit a bunch of guys out, but if it’s what we have to do, we’ll do it.

McLellan, on the importance of controlling the faceoff:
Really important. Maybe one of the most important aspects, having possession. We actually got possession of the first one and then gave it right back to them. It took us about a minute, a minute and a half to get control again, but the game’s really evolved, the three-on-three game. When we first started, it was everybody was in a hurry to make a play and giving the puck back, a nd now everybody’s willing to hold onto it and slow it down and strike that one opportunity when you finally get it, so it’s evolved.

Drew Doughty, joined in progress:
…I haven’t been happy with how I’ve been playing lately, and I wanted to contribute and do something good. It was a big moment. I don’t know why I don’t shoot that every time, but I want to make the pass every time. The goalie made a good save, but I got lucky. It was just sitting there, easy goal.

Doughty, on what he hasn’t been satisfied with:

Just my own personal game. I’m on for too many goals against. I want to be better. I want to be that defenseman that’s up for the Norris again one day, and I want our team to be successful again. That’s obviously the main goal, just having a better season this year, hopefully making the playoffs, and that’s what we want to get back to. And when we’re losing, I take it personally.

Doughty, on whether this game was a good example of Kurtis MacDermid’s growth:
Yeah, for sure. Dermie’s a great guy. Every guy on this team loves Dermie. We love all of teach other, obviously, but Dermie’s a guy that’s going to stick up for you at any moment in the game, and he’s a guy that obviously doesn’t get as many minutes as maybe some other guys, but he always makes the most of his minutes, whether it’s through a big hit, just good defensive plays, and this year, I feel he’s getting a lot of offensive looks. I think he had probably four or five good looks today, and that just shows how hard he’s been working in practice and trying to make his game evolve – and it has evolved into a very well-rounded game. [Reporter: Like one-timer he fired off in this game today that hit Crawford.] Yeah, he’s got a bomb, obviously. He’s a big guy, so he needs to keep shooting the puck. Like I said, we just love having Dermie on our team. He’s a great player, a great person, and he’ll do anything for his teammates, and that’s the kind of teammates we want.

Doughty, on whether Los Angeles-Chicago is still a “marquee” match-up despite the team’s records:
As much as that’s the facts of the matter, it doesn’t feel like that. When I look across, I see a three-time Stanley Cup champion just since I’ve been in the league, and I see – I think it’s three, right? And they’ve got Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford, and those are some guys that not only do I love playing against them, but some guys that I obviously look up to their games and I’ve had the opportunity to play with them in the past with Team Canada, and they’re great people, too. So, it never feels like a bottom-of-the-standings match-up when we play these guys.

Doughty, on how the overtime game-winner developed:
I think I had a two-on-one, obviously the play on the two-on-one is to never let the pass go through and let them get the backdoor chance, so Soupy made a great save. Kept it short post, and then I kind of just stayed home in front of the net, and I think the guy tried to center it. It went on my tape and we were off to the races. I was a little bit tired because I played maybe two or three minutes in overtime, so when you see the ice open up for you like that, you’re not tired anymore, you just take off.

Doughty, on the process of trying to improve his play:
I’m trying to – I don’t really know what to say. I’m trying to become better in all areas of my game. That’s what I work on every day, watch video. In practice, obviously working on my stuff, I’ve noticed that my gaps haven’t been as good. I’ve talked to the D coach about that and how we want to improve that. I want to improve on the PK. I’ve been on for way too many PK goals against. I’ve been on for way too many goals against, period. And that’s something I take a lot of pride in and something I want to fix, and as much as it maybe sounds like a selfish thing that I don’t want to be on for goals against, it’s more of a team thing. I play the most minutes on my team, and if I’m on for goals-against, we’re probably going to lose. [Reporter: Is that part of adapting to Todd’s new system?] I said earlier I didn’t want to make an excuse about out of that anymore, but at times it is tough because it’s different. I’m used to being that right defenseman who’s able to step up on my guys in the neutral zone and hip check guys and stuff like that, now I’m the rover that’s in the middle of the ice letting everything happen to cheat back for breakouts. It’s a different process, but something that we’re really happy about. You can see how dominant we can be when we execute the system. No more excuses, just execute it. [Reporter: So we’ve got to give you a break for a few more games.] No don’t give me a break. I mean, like I said, I’ve got to get back to what I was a couple years ago.

Postgame Video

Postgame Notes

— With the overtime win, Los Angeles improved to 88-90-22 all-time against Chicago, a record that includes a 47-41-11 home mark. The Kings, who will not host the Blackhawks at Staples Center again until the 2020-21 season, have won three straight home games in the series. One game in the series remains, March 29 at United Center.

— Saturday’s win was the final game played this decade between two teams that combined for half of its Stanley Cups. With the win, Los Angeles went 15-17-1 against Chicago this decade and split the 2013 and 2014 Western Conference Finals. The first game between these teams this decade was a 3-2 Blackhawks overtime win at United Center on March 10, 2010 in which four players who are currently active participated: Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

— The Kings improved to 5-7-0 against the Western Conference, 3-1-0 in one-goal games, 4-2-0 when scoring first, 2-2-0 when tied after one period, 2-1-0 when tied after two periods, 5-7-0 when outshooting their opponent and 2-0 in games decided past regulation.

— Los Angeles improved to 2-0 in games decided in three-on-three overtime and 41-19 since the implementation of three-on-three overtime in 2015-16. Their 41 wins and .683 overtime winning percentage since the three-on-three switch leads the league in both categories. Chicago’s 35 overtime wins rank second, as does Calgary’s .674 winning percentage.

— Opponents have pulled the goalie in three late-game situations against the Kings and have scored on two of them to tie the game (also: Matthew Tkachuk, 10/8/19, LAK @ CGY). Los Angeles has scored twice into the empty net in the six-on-five situation (Brown, Doughty, 10/12/19 vs NSH).

— With his overtime goal, Drew Doughty (114-363=477) moved within two points of Jim Fox (479 points) for 10th place on the franchise’s all-time points list. He scored his second overtime game-winner of the season and seventh of his career while playing in his franchise-record 424th consecutive game. This is the first season in which he’s recorded multiple overtime game-winning goals, while his seven OTGWGs are tied for sixth among NHL defensemen.

— The Kings attempted 79 shots (49 on goal, 16 blocked, 14 missed). The Blackhawks attempted 47 shots (27 on goal, 9 blocked, 11 missed). Matt Roy, Ilya Kovalchuk and Dustin Brown tied with a game-high five shots on goal.

— Los Angeles won 37-of-65 faceoffs (57%). Adrian Kempe won 6-of-7, Michael Amadio won 3-of-7, Anze Kopitar won 12-of-17 Ilya Kovalchuk won 0-of-1, Alex Iafallo won 1-of-1, Trevor Lewis won 0-of-1, Blake Lizotte won 5-of-8 and Jeff Carter won 10-of-17.

The Kings are scheduled to travel to Toronto on Sunday, November 3 to begin a three-game road trip.

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