November 23 Rapid Reaction: Coyotes 3, Kings 2

Postgame Quotes

Todd McLellan, on the team keeping the score close but not generating the desired result:
No, it was certainly not the result we wanted, and we’re not playing to stay close, obviously we’re playing to try and win. I thought the game tonight was a much better effort than we saw last week or Monday or whenever we were in Arizona. I thought we created more, we played with a little more authority. Didn’t start that way. Didn’t think our start was really energetic or alive, and later in the first we got it. From there on, I thought we had what we needed to give ourselves a chance. The goals that were scored on us, the penalty kill goal, we made a bit of a mistake and they made us pay, but I thought the second one, we got impatient. We were rolling around, we were doing some of the things we wanted to do, we forced a puck and had a little bad luck in our end when it went off Ryan and went to them. But after that, they’re the number one team in the league goals-against-wise for a reason. They were able to shut it down, had some good looks but it didn’t go in. We’ll take a close look at what we’re doing in and around the blue paint. Are we making it hard on the goaltender or are we making it easy? When you’re not producing on that many shots, it’s the first thing you think about. You realize that some are fluff shots from the outside, but the true good scoring chances, are we making it hard on the goalie in around the paint and being in his eyes, or are we peeling off a little too early, and we’ll have to look at that, and if it is the case, we’ll fix it.

McLellan, on how to improve finishing:
The goaltender part of it, or the- [Reporter: When you’re in close and finishing off some of those chances.] Well, the finish part is the tough part. The being in the eyes and the pushing back of the goaltender into his paint without taking penalties is fixable. That’s done through video, and sometimes the players need to see it to believe it. The finish part is the tough part, and that’s a question that 31 teams ask themselves throughout the season. Sometimes it’s having a second or two more with the puck or a second or two less with the puck. So, every player’s a little bit different, every player has a different panic point, and it’s not carte blanche for the whole team. So, we’ve got to work with everyone and try and solve it.

McLellan, on whether Arizona is similar at all to Coyotes teams earlier this decade:
You want me to talk about what their team has done lately? [Reporter: Yeah, as a coach-] You should go down the hallway and ask them. Like, they’re doing a good job and they’ve always been a good defensive team, I think. Their coaches will answer that a lot better than I will. I can tell you what they’re doing well right now – they’re defending, they’re boxing out – but they would be a better group to ask than me.

McLellan, on Nikolai Prokhorkin adjusting to the smaller ice to make plays:
Yeah, that’s part of his game and part of his adjustment period. I think he’s been here long enough now to have felt it, especially practice-wise, and he got a good group of games in the American League where obviously playing on the same sized ice surface. I tend to like him a little better in the middle. We’ve tried him on the wing here the last little bit, but he is getting more confident, he shows us a skill level, he’s able to use his size, I think his feet, his legs, his skating are improving, but it has to get a little bit quicker and better. But he’s showing signs of being a confident player right now, and as we go forward and get guys in and out, his job is top stay as ready as he possibly can and stay in the lineup.

McLellan, on whether he wanted to see more patience early, or if he liked the Kings’ chances:
Every situations’ different. We took 45, 46 shots – I can’t break all of those moments down. There are times where we should hold on and maybe make a play and we’re shooting, and there are times where we should be releasing and we’re not, and sometimes you’re caught in between, but we’re not the only team in the league that does that. You play for 60 minutes and that happens. When I said ‘patient,’ I meant holding onto the puck in the offensive zone. That second goal, we tried to force it. We were doing a really good job of rolling around. When the puck did go to the net, we were able to recover, but as we started to break them down a little bit, we began to force it. We tried to force it into scoring areas and that’s what I mean by ‘patience.’ We just didn’t take what was given to us, we tried to create it or force it, and it cost us going the other way.

McLellan, on getting traffic to the net:

Well, it’s interesting. When I was in Minnesota, Jacques Lemaire used to talk about ‘get to the net, get to the net.’ When you’re not scoring goals, everybody’s yelling and screaming ‘get to the net.’ Well, if I go to the net and I take you, there’s two, and if Jon goes to the net and he takes somebody, there’s four, and all of a sudden somebody else is at the net, it’s just a wall of humanity and pucks don’t get through. So, I’d like our group to be coming down on rebounds, but I’d still like somebody in and around the paint occupying the goaltender’s thought process, at least. You don’t occupy his body, obviously. You’re penalized then. But we’ll look at that and see if we’re doing the right things.

McLellan, on the difference between playing with and without the lead:
Tonight’s game was a slow starter, at least in my opinion. I didn’t think we were really sharp early, they had a scoring chance 12 seconds in. Didn’t win the draw, didn’t retrieve the rim that they sent in. Right after that we pinched and there was a 2-on-1, that’s all in the first 45 seconds. So that’s giving you an indication that the group maybe is half-asleep and not ready to go, and we had to play our way through that. So that’s tonight’s game. As far as the overall playing with the lead, we knew this would be a 2-1, 3-2 game, that’s just how they play. And obviously getting the lead against them is one of the keys, but it’s easier said than done.

McLellan, on whether he’s had a chance to spend time with Make-A-Wish participant Jacob Brown:
I have, yep. We come to play hockey, we come and watch the game, we pay to be a fan and we have to go work and do all those things, but the real story – all the kids, especially, but also the adults that are fighting their own fight with cancer – we play hockey. They fight their battles, and Jacobs one of them. He’s brought a lot of joy to our team. His life hasn’t been pleasant, obviously. He’s had to be a fighter. But when he walked in, our guys all had big smiles on their faces. A lot of what went on here today was obviously planned. But our players took it a step further. They wanted him to be part of warm-up. Not just on the bench, ‘get out here and skate with us.’ They wanted him in the locker room dressing with them. They wanted him to be a part of the starting lineup, to read the lineup in the locker room, and regardless of whether we win games or not, when you’re part of an organization you take a lot of pride in how the players respond to situations like that, and we might not be first place in the standings right now but in my mind we’re first place in being classy individuals – at least on this day, and we’re proud of that.

Alec Martinez, on where the improvements over Monday occurred:
I think we didn’t have the start that we needed, and if you ask any guy in this room, the first period wasn’t good enough. That said, in the second and third I thought that we did a lot of good things. I thought we got in on the forecheck and made it really tough on their D. We got some turnovers and created some opportunities. Give credit to them – they’re the number one defensive team in the league in terms of goals-against, and they showed that tonight.

Martinez, on what the Coyotes do well to limit opposing offenses:
I think they stick to their system. They’ve got good defensive players, good smart players. Obviously, they’ve gotten goaltending as well, and that always helps. But I think that they just have a pretty good commitment to their team game, their team defensive game.

Martinez, on whether it’s frustrating to control the play but lose the game:
I mean, yeah, it’s frustrating after the game, but while it’s happening it’s important not to get frustrated. That’s probably their intention. They want to frustrate you, they want to keep limiting your chances or keep shots to the outside. At the end of the day, against a team like that, you’ve got to stay patient and just play the game the right way, and then you will get chances.

Martinez, on whether he was satisfied with the team’s ability to get bodies and pucks to the net:
Yeah, I mean, that’s something that we talked about, getting pucks to the net. Any time you play a team of that caliber, especially defensively, you can’t score if you don’t shoot the puck. That was a focus point tonight.

Martinez, on Jacob Brown taking warm-ups, and the team’s efforts to make him comfortable:
Yeah, it’s awesome. He’s been a really bright spot to be around. Anytime you have an opportunity to do something like that I think it’s really important, and I think we have an obligation as an athlete to give back. He’s a great kid. You can tell – he was loving every minute of it, and to have a guy out there, you try to give him a couple stick taps or a couple pads on the shins, you have him go ahead of you, take your spot in the shooting or something like that. Obviously, we play a game, and he’s in a bigger fight than the rest of us, and it’s important to acknowledge that and help make peoples’ day just a little bit better.

Blake Lizotte, on the loss:
We came up short which was disappointing, but we battled hard for the last 40 minutes. I didn’t think our first 20 were very good. But the last 40 I thought for the most part we competed hard. I think it’s a testament to our aggressive play. My line tonight, I thought we played well the last 40 minutes. We were aggressive on the forecheck, sometimes they just don’t go in, which was the case tonight.

Lizotte, on carrying play but losing the game:
It’s the best league in the world. All it takes is one mistake. Five-on-five tonight we were good, except for 30 seconds, and that’s the difference. They capitalized on a mistake of ours and that’s the difference. The pucks didn’t go in the net for us tonight, and that’s just the way it goes.

Postgame Highlights

Postgame Notes

— With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 91-105-36 all-time against the Arizona franchise, a record that includes a home mark of 50-48-17. The Kings’ five-game home winning streak was snapped with the loss, which dropped them to 0-2-0 on the season against the Coytoes with games remaining on January 30 at Gila River Arena and March 22 at Staples Center.

— With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 8-9-0 against the Western Conference, 5-5-0 against the Pacific Division, 5-3-1 in one-goal games, 1-10-0 when their opponent scores first, 0-9-0 when trailing after one period 0-11-0 when trailing after two periods and 8-10-0 when outshooting their opponent.

— The Kings fell to 22-11-0 in their silver alternate jerseys, which were used in 2016-17, and, without the gold trim, since the start of the 2018-19 season. The jerseys have been used for Saturday home games. Today’s game ended a string of seven consecutive wins in the silver jerseys.

— Ben Hutton played the 299th game of his career.

— With his team-leading ninth goal, Anze Kopitar (1-0=1) has recorded points in eight of his last nine games (5-6=11) and has at least one point in 17 of 23 games this season.

— Drew Doughty (0-1=1) has seven points (1-6=7) over the last five games.

— Los Angeles attempted 78 shots (45 on goal, 16 blocied, 17 missed). Arizona attempted 36 shots (19 on goal, 10 blocked, 7 missed). All L.A. skaters registered at least one shot on goal, led by Sean Walker, Alec Martinez, Blake Lizotte and Jeff Carter, all of whom tied with a game-high four.

— The Kings won 22-of-56 faceoffs (59%). Adrian Kempe won 1-of-3, Michael Amadio won 5-of-6, Anze Kopitar won 14-of-19, Alex Iafallo won 1-of-1, Dustin Brown won 1-of-2, Blake Lizotte won 4-of-10, Tyler Toffoli won 0-of-2, Nikolai Proklhorkin won 1-of-2 and Jeff Carter won 6-of-11.

Sunday is a scheduled recovery day for the Kings. They are scheduled to practice next at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Toyota Sports Performance Center in advance of their home game against San Jose at 7:30 p.m. that evening.

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