Todd McLellan, on the storybook ending to Jeff Carter’s 1,000th game:
Well, it was for us and for him. I’m glad that he played a big role in it, and you couldn’t write the script any better for him to get the winner. A proud night for himself, his family. Kids watching dad go to work – that’s a great thing. Good thing it was an afternoon game. But overall, we’re happy with the win. I wouldn’t call it one of our best game. It probably was one of our uglier games this year, but teams have got to learn how to win different ways. When you don’t have your A-game or maybe you’re not as sharp or feel a little lethargic, you’ve got to find ways to grind the game out and we faced some adversity tonight. Some goals that were – I don’t know how we prevent ‘em. Off the foot, and bounce over the stick, yet we found a way so we’ll take that and try and get some rest and get ready for Monday.
McLellan, on keys to scoring on both the power play and penalty kill:
Depth. We’re not relying on one area of the game, and that may be something that works in our favor. With the power play not producing at a high, high rate, we don’[t come into games relying on it. We have to play hard five-on-five, penalty kill’s done a really good job. The last time we played this team they ate us alive for three goals. They had their chances, but I thought Quickie made some really good saves on the penalty kill, so I think we’ve improved in that area, which is a good thing. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’ll work on things tomorrow and try to get better for Monday.
McLellan, on whether Matt Roy’s play has been coming together and more “assertive”:
I think since … we had a pretty direct meeting [after] game three when we got home from that Canadian road trip, and there was a lot of people in the organization that were big backers of Matt and still are, of course, but his play in those first three were kind of so-so. From that point on, he’s been tremendous. He might be one of our more consistent guys back there both offensively and defensively. Plays important situations, it seems like anybody who plays with him has a pretty good night. He’s had various partners, so we’re proud of him, we’re happy to have him, we know he’s just going to get better as time goes on. I don’t know if he’s hit the 82-game mark yet or not. He hasn’t even played a full year.
McLellan, on whether this is a “winning streak,” and the team’s third period play during it:
I think you’re very accurate, because the third period for us was perhaps our best period tonight. It wasn’t flashy, it was a pretty simple period, but we didn’t give up much in our end as we did earlier in the game. We found a way to score, and then I thought we did a pretty good job of shutting things down. So, we’re getting a little more stamina in our game, our engines are running a little bit longer, we’re a little bit calmer in pressure situations. I think structurally we’re understanding things a little bit better. We’re willing to give up offense, which sounds strange for our team, at the right time to get the right people on the ice, but that’s game management. So, it’s just things we’ve been talking about since September 15 that are starting to settle in, and it’ll get awayu yfrom us at some point and we’ll have to fix it, but right now we’re grasping some of the concepts we’re trying to put in place.
McLellan, on what Nikolai Prokhorkin has done well since returning to the lineup:
Well, the good thing for pro is right now he believes he’ll be in the lineup, so he can come to the rink and feel a little more comfortable about getting prepared and not worrying about making mistakes. I think he’s been more aggressive as a player, and I don’t mean ‘aggressive’ as a physical standpoint, but making plays, hunting pucks down, holding onto it and creating. You saw where he scored – he went to the blue paint, and him and Cliffy dug out the puck two or three times and finally put it in. That to me is
McLellan, on whether younger players can absorb things from older players even in hard times:
I think it’s quite influential, as long as that individual – and obviously we’re talking about Carts, and he does do it the right way – but that individual has to do it the right way. I don’t think guys that play a thousand games stay and have bad habits or are players that don’t lead the right way. Carts does those things night-in and night-out. He does them in practice. Is he a perfect player? No. He’d be the first to tell you that there’s no such thing. But if you’re a young player, if you’re Blake Lizotte coming in, he’s probably a pretty good guy to keep an eye on, the way he carries himself. Careers have ups and downs. Really good moments when you’re winning Stanley Cups, and Carts probably had some tough ones last year. He’s put it aside, he’s come back and he’s been a really good player, so I’m happy for him and his family.
McLellan, on whether he could sense Prokhorkin’s emotion:
I could see Pro score the goal and he jumped in the air, and then I looked around and I saw a race to the back of the net, Marty and somebody else. I can’t tell you who it was. They skated fast all night, but that’s a pretty fast sprint to get the puck for the guy. It just goes to show that we’re coming together as a team. Everyone’s happy for each other, and we’ll take the good and the bad together. Tonight we had more good than bad and we got to celebrate a great moment with Pro and his teammates did a good job of being a part of it.
McLellan, on trusting younger players like Blake Lizotte in late-game situations:
We rolled basically four lines the whole night. I don’t think our team had its energy or its juice, if you will, that we’ve had in the past. It felt like we had to play four lines. I trust those guys. We put ‘em out when we’re down a goal and put ‘em out when we’re up a goal. They are players that are going to have to experience that as we move forward. They are players that are going to have to experience that as we move forward. And if they’re not playing well, they’re not going to go out, but that goes for anybody. But they deserve to be out there. If we would’ve had another shift, I think Pro’s line was the next one up, and they did a good job all night, too. There are nights you just feel good about playing everyone.
McLellan, on whether afternoon games affect the energy level:
That’s a really good question. I personally like afternoon games. [Reporter: So do we.] I bet you do. I often think, though, the afternoon game favors the road team, and they just get up and they have breakfast at the hotel, they walk over and away they go. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but as far as the energy level goes, we didn’t have our best, I didn’t think. We have more rest time now before we skate tomorrow for practice, so that should be a good thing, and the – how do I put this the right way – the ability to relax after your family after a game is something they never get to experience. They’re always coming home at 11:00 at night. The kids are already sleeping. I go home, and my wife’s sleeping already. You don’t even get to communicate or talk. Then you go home and enjoy each other for a little while, and that can be therapeutic, I believe, as well.
McLellan, on the discussion in the dressing room preparing for the third period:
We tried to keep it positive. We talked about adjusting a few things on our forecheck that I think helped us. The players put it into play in the third period. I told the guys – if sitting at home last night, somebody called me and we would’ve had a power play goal, a shorthanded goal and be tied 3-3 against Vegas going into the third, would you take it? And I would. No matter what happened in the first two, whether we were good or bad, that was the situation we were in. So buckle ‘em up and let’s go play a good period.
McLellan, on whether he’s gaining trust on Adrian Kempe by using him in penalty killing situations:
Kempe’s been on the penalty kill maybe not as much. We have to show confidence in him. He’s a good player. He hadn’t played that well. It doesn’t mean he can’t fix it. The last two games, I believe he’s working really hard to fix it, so our job now is to catch him doing things right and reward him for it, so penalty kill, power play, you see him back out there in those situations, his job now is to maintain it. So we’ve got to do our share, he’s got to do his, and if we’re all working together, we’re going to have a really good player.
Jeff Carter, on the game-winning goal:
Nothing special about it, you know? Win a faceoff, shoot the puck and go to the net. That’s how the games go for us. We simplify. I don’t think tonight was overall our best game, but we stuck with it and grinded won out, and at the end of the day it’s a big two points for us.
Carter, on whether he gets nostalgic about earlier moments in his career:
I mean, a lot of ups and downs. I think I said it to Lisa the other day – I think it’s kind of hard to sit back and think about it leading up to it, but I’m sure because in the next week or so we’ve got a couple days off. I think back a little bit, but it’s been a lot of hockey, a lot of fun and I feel good.
Carter, on whether it could begin to settle in at the end of his career:
I mean, it could. I don’t know, right? I’ll look back, but I don’t know, who knows. Never been through it.
Carter, on whether he feels good about his game:
Yeah, I feel good, I feel strong. Probably should have a few more than I’ve got right now, and that’s on me just bearing down a bit. Yeah, I feel good.
Matt Roy, on assisting on key third period goals in consecutive games:
[Alec Martinez: He’s clutch like Robert Horry.] Yeah, in that part of the game, I think everyone’s just looking to get the puck on net, and luckily for me, Carts won a good draw there and got to the net and got a stick on it.
Roy, on feeling more asserting and feeling confident to play aggressively to make plays:
Yeah, the more games I’ve played, I’ve found that if I play aggressive, I’ve found myself playing better. You don’t want to be too stupid going in on that stuff, but it’s good to be aggressive, and I notice it in my play.
Roy, on whether he’s felt good about his game the last several weeks:
I think you play well one game, and you try to repeat it the next game. You hope it to be like a snowball type of effect.
Nikolai Prokhorkin, on scoring his first career NHL goal:
I feel very good. I’m so happy – my first goal in the NHL. Just – what a day!
Prokhorkin, on his goal:
Clifford dropped to me, and I just shot. It’s too easy. All my partners did my scoring.
Prokhorkin, on who will keep the puck:
No, I have in Russia – museum? [Reporter: Trophy room.] Yeah, trophy room in my apartment.
— With the win, Los Angeles improved to 6-4-1 all-time against Vegas, a record that includes a home mark of 4-2-1. Each team has a 1-1-0 record in advance of the remaining games on January 9 and March 1, both at T-Mobile Arena.
— With the win, the Kings improved to 7-7-0 against the Western Conference, 3-4-0 against the Pacific Division, 7-3-1 when scoring first, 5-2-1 in one-goal games, 6-1-0 when leading after the first period, 4-2-1 when tied after two periods, 1-2-1 when outshot by their opponent and 4-2-1 in November. The Golden Knights lost their fifth straight game (0-4-1), the last four coming in regulation.
— Jeff Carter recorded his 79th game-winning goal in his 1,000th career regular season game. He is the 341st player to reach the milestone and 12th player from the 2003 draft class to do so. 11 of the 12 players to reach 100 games from that class were drafted in the first round, though Joe Pavelski, who at 983 games is next in line from the 2003 draft to reach 1,000 games, was a seventh round draft pick. Saturday also marked Carter’s 500th game with Los Angeles.
— With a goal and an assist, Drew Doughty (480 points) equaled and then passed Jim Fox (479) for 10th place on the Kings’ all-time points list.
— By assisting on Drew Doughty’s goal, Anze Kopitar extended his point streak to six games (3-6=9).
— Jonathan Quick won his third consecutive game and his 314th career game, stopping 28-of-31 shots.
— Los Angeles attempted 46 shots (25 on goal, 10 blocked, 11 missed). Vegas attempted 64 shots (31 on goal, 15 blocked, 18 missed).
— The Kings won 31-if-63 faceoffs (49%). Michael Amadio won 6-of-7, Anze Kopitar won 10-of-18, Blake Lizotte won 3-of-12, Nikolai Prokhorkin won 3-of-9 and Jeff Carter won 9-of-17.
The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow (Sunday) at 11 a.m. at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo before flying to Arizona.