November 14 Rapid Reaction: Kings 3, Red Wings 2 (OT)

Todd McLellan, on what he liked about the first period:
The first period? I thought we established the type of game we wanted to play. We were quick, we were aggressive. When we forecheck we become a pretty good team, and when we start to play east-west and get a little cute we’re not so effective, and I thought in the first we did that and I thought we got away from it later on in the game, but eventually went back to it. Nice to see the group stay resilient and use all the minutes we were given to find a way to win.

McLellan, on winning a game when “for 59 minutes it didn’t look like” his team would:
I don’t know about that. I thought we were down by one but we were playing a pretty darn good game, so we always felt that we could come back. If you’re looking purely at the scoreboard and you don’t think you have a chance, well then you’re out of it. But I thought tonight we were going to use all the minutes and we were going to come back. It’s good for our team to show a little resilience. We’ve been on the other end of it when we go down and we get scored on again right away. The last three or four games we’ve been improving in that area, so moving the needle in the right direction.

McLellan, on what Adrian Kempe does well to use his speed:
Well, if tonight’s an indication, I would say so. A lot of people would say in the middle you’ve got all that ice that you can use and wander around, but I thought that Adrian had a really good game. He came very determines, I think we could’ve played him on defense and he would’ve had that type of game tonight. He was determined, he was probably even squeezing the stick a little hard, he had some really good opportunities to shoot or make a play, and it just kind of bounced off his stick a little bit. But at the end of the night he relaxed, he knows he belongs in this league, he knows that we’re very confident in him when he’s playing well and it was great to see him rewarded with a goal.

McLellan, on whether there’s less responsibility for wings than centers in his system:
When he plays wing, he plays on the left side. Our right wings probably have more responsibility than anybody. The center and left wingers are really interchangeable, and he’ll still take faceoffs depending on who he’s playing with – left or right side. If he’s the first guy back in our zone, we want him to play down low, so he’s in the middle of the rink. For me, and maybe it’s just something that I believe in, a forward’s a forward. You better be able to play all over the rink, but if it’s on the wall where he believes he’s the most effective, then we’re going to play him there and get his confidence up. But I think when it’s all said and done, It’s just him playing really hard and competitive tonight and if he’s comfortable there, than great.

McLellan, on getting “determination and urgency” out of Kempe more consistently:
Still a young player. Still probably evaluating himself based on where he is in the scoreboard, and that’s probably not the way to approach it. And he’s learning lessons as he goes. I’ve been told he’s a streaky player. Has really good periods and then kind of not so good, so he’s got to solve that problem. But again, he’s way too important a player to be sitting in the stands. But sometimes players need just a little jolt. They can have as many conversations with the coach as they want, but once they come out, they tend to take it a little more serious. So good for him, he responded the right way.

McLellan, on approaching the quarter-pole:
Yeah, we’re right there. When I look at the season to this point, … we’ve been happy with the way the players have approached practices, meetings, their want or their willingness to change. I think they’re starting to pick things up and apply them. We’re cutting down the goals against. Penalty kill is improving. Power play has some work to do. Goaltending, I think Quickie’s really starting to settle in. We’re starting to see the goalie we thought we had, and he’s really playing well. So, overall, we’re fixing things as we go, but we’re still not there and we’ve got a lot of work to do.

McLellan, on whether it will be possible to string together wins during a home-heavy schedule:
Well, I don’[t know what’s going to happen after – what do we have, Vegas at one o’clock on – what day is it today? Saturday? And I don’t even know where we’re going on Sunday. I think Arizona. So, the furthest I’m looking ahead is practice tomorrow. We’re going to use 35 or 40 minutes of that ice time to get better as a team, and that’s all we’re going to approach. But it is a valid question. It’s a good question, because you’re playing at home. But our approach isn’t to think that way. We’ve got to look at the game tonight. There’s areas that we think we can be better in. We’ll accentuate the positives, we’ll work on some of the things that we need to work on, and we’ll just come and get ready for a good Vegas team.

McLellan, on the team’s rhythm and tempo:
It’s interesting, because we were talking before the game, and when you talk to other people around the league and other coaches after you play them or just casually talking, nobody has used the word ‘slow’ or associated that with our team. And we’ve made some decisions that cost us and stuff like that, but we seem to be playing a bit of a pace game, and we have to continue to do that. We’re a volume shooting team. We have to continue to do that. We want to keep that identity up, we want to keep that pace up. Practices are getting a little shorter, but the intensity’s going to stay up so that we can learn how to practice fast and learn how to play fast, and hopeful in the long run it all pays off.

McLellan, on “smoothing out” rather than “speeding up”:
Again, I think tonight we attempted to make some nice plays. We saw the play that was about to happen, we knew what we wanted to do with it, we just didn’t execute it. And that’s the next step is putting polish on everything. While guys are thinking about positional play and new systems, they tend to be a little slower and making decisions a little later. But now we’re just starting to see it happen naturally, and as I said, they’re not talking about us being a ‘slow team’ anymore. We’re competing with everybody. Special teams still need a lot of work. There’s a lot that has to improve there, but we’ll get to it. Eventually, we’ll improve.

McLellan, on how the team has worked with Jonathan Quick recently:
Well, that’s provably a good question for Billy Ranford and for Jonathan himself. You know, his game wasn’t as poor as we all think it was at the beginning of the year. It was our game. We were leaking chances, long chances quite often. We were giving up goals one after another. Body language and belief system crumbled very quickly. In some games it got away on us and he’s the last line of defense back there. He was better than his numbers show, and now the group around him’s starting to play better. He’s a little more comfortable and confident and he looks the way he should.

McLellan, on staying “accountable” and remaining out of the penalty box:
Well, they’re holding each other accountable. They’re starting to check with their legs. It’s language we’ve talked about. Stick on the ice and use your legs. As soon as your stick comes off the ice and your legs quit moving, the referee’s thinking penalty and he’s watching for it. So, we want to use our legs to skate through people and skate into position instead of reach into position. We’re actually doing a pretty good job at drawing the penalties. We just have to cut down on the taking part.

Adrian Kempe, on returning to wing:
It was good. Obviously, it’s been a while. I think I played one single game at wing last year. I think it was two years ago, so it’s been a while. It’s always kind of easier to go back to wing than it is from wing back to center, so it’s just fun to be out there again. Use my speed a little bit more. I think our line had some good chances. We were in on the forecheck, created some offense, and that was all we wanted to do before the game, too, so it was good.

Kempe, on his game-tying goal:
Well, it was in front of the net that whole time. Then Carts came in and he was standing in front there, so I wanted to fan out a little bit and try to look for the rebounds, and then the shot came right away and it bumped up to my backhand and I had an open net. It was good pressure by us and it was nice to get the tying goal.

Kempe, on “simple, direct” plays:
Yeah, that’s what we’ve been looking for the last couple games – play more north-south, more direct, use our speed and forecheck and get shots off the goalie’s pads and try to look for the rebounds. We got two goals like that tonight, so that was good from us. If we keep doing that, we’re going to create more offense and we can make more plays as well. It was good.

Kempe, on what Todd’s plan is for him:
I don’t know what the plan is – I’ve been playing center for a long time now, and I think it’s good that I can be useful in both situations and whatever the team needs me in. I really wanted to help the team win tonight – after being out of the lineup last game, I really wanted to come back strong and push and help my team to win the game, and I think I did a pretty good job of that tonight, so hopefully we’ll keep that going.

Kempe, on whether changes have affected his preparation:
Obviously for myself, I want o play as well as possible every night and help the team win. It’s hard – I had some tough times lately and we just want to get back and win games, and everybody’s got to bring their best games to our team so we can be able to win the games. I think we did a pretty good job the last two games and have just got to build on this momentum we have right now.

Alex Iafallo, on the win:
Yeah, for sure we needed that one. A good two points for us. We get on a roll here, good momentum for us. Especially at home, we’re doing well at home, so just keep ‘er going and everybody played well tonight.

Iafallo, on the late theatrics:
Yeah, it’s huge. We were pretty disciplined tonight, didn’t take many penalties. That helps us get momentum and push forward as a team. It keeps our legs fresh. Good run, nice work there getting that tying goal, so that was huge for us.

Iafallo, on his last overtime goal:
I don’t really remember. College? Sometime in college, I think.

Iafallo, on the team’s third period push:
We stuck with it. Everybody was making the right plays. We had a couple off-shifts, but at the same time, most of the shifts in the third we were buzzing and getting the puck in deep and going to work, so that was good for us. It gave us momentum at the end there.

Iafallo, on being the “hero” in overtime:
It felt good. Just a huge win and getting those two points was awesome, so I’m just feeling good right now, and keep ‘er going.

Iafallo, on how the team can build off this win:
Just everything – on the ice, off the ice. Being mentally prepared is a huge part of the game. Sticking together as teammates is going to help us in the long run, so doing that’s going to get us ready for every game and help us win.

— With the win, Los Angeles improved to 88-83-32 all-time against Detroit, a record that includes a home mark of 52-35-15 and a 5-1-0 mark in the last six played at Staples Center. These teams have one game remaining, December 15 at Little Caesars Arena.

— With the win, the Kings improved to 1-4-1 against the Eastern Conference, 1-3-1 against the Atlantic Division, 4-2-1 in one-goal games, 6-3-1 when scoring first, 5-1-0 when leading after the first period, 3-2-1 when tied after the second period and 3-1 in games decided after regulation.

— Los Angeles improved to 3-1 in games decided in overtime and 42-20 since the implementation of three-on-three in 2015-16. Their 42 wins and .677 winning percentage over this span lead the league.

— Jeff Carter appeared in his 999th NHL game.

— With one goal and two assists, Anze Kopitar extended his goal streak to three games and his point streak to five games (3-5=8) with his second consecutive multi-point game.

— Alex Iafallo scored his first career overtime goal. He has points in three straight games (1-3=4).

— By assisting on Iafallo’s goal, Drew Doughty (0-1=1) recorded his 478th career assist, moving him within one point of Jim Fox (479) for 10th place on the franchise’s all-time points list.

— The Kings attempted 67 shots (31 on goal, 18 blocked, 18 missed). The Red Wings attempted 40 shots (21 on goal, 9 blocked, 10 missed). Alec Martinez, Jeff Carter and Tyler Bertuzzi tied with a game-high four shots on goal, while Martinez led all skaters with 10 shot attempts (4 on goal, 5 blocked, 1 missed).

— Los Angeles won 32-of-54 faceoffs (59%). Adrian Kempe won 0-of-1, Michael Amadio won 1-of-2, Anze Kopitar won 9-of-15, Alex Iafallo won 1-of-1, Blake Lizotte won 6-of-11, Nikolai Prokhorkin won 4-of-7 and Jeff Carter won 11-of-17.

The Kings are scheduled to practice at 11:00 a.m. at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo.

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