January 6 Rapid Reaction: Blue Jackets 4, Kings 2

Todd McLellan on if he feels the Kings could have led by more through 20 minutes
It’s a pretty good observation, yes. We had a tenacity to our forecheck that we haven’t had for a little while, and it would have been nice to have been rewarded. It’s that theory about, again, are we stressing getting to the net and pressuring that area, and getting maybe too many bodies in there with shots that are getting blocked. Maybe we’ve got to get away from the net a little bit more, we’ll look at it tomorrow. Your thought process is really good. If we can get up to two after one period, we probably feel a lot better and maybe they back off but that wasn’t the case. You look, at the end of the night, the first goes to us, the second goes to them, the third’s an even period and we’re short one.

On adjustments that Columbus made in the second period
They got ahead of us, and what I mean by that is in the first, we were on top of them and in the second, we weren’t quite on top of them. They got their eyes up, they played the long game, sent the puck out of the zone long, touched it into our end and then they were on top of us. They did to us exactly what we did to them in the first, yet, we only give up six shots and unfortunately a couple of them go into the net. We made some mistakes, they made us pay.

On the return of Brown, Lewis and Forbort to the lineup tonight
It’s a lot to put into a game, but it’s never ideal, it’s not something we want to do, but it’s something we need to do right now, based on where we’re at and what we’re looking at doing. We’ve got to get those players in and get them up and running. Each of them was out for a different purpose or reason. Some were able to skate and perform in practice, so they’re a little more polished than others. I thought each of them had a positive impact at some point, and then were playing catchup at others, but that’s to be expected when you’re coming back from an pneumonia, for example.

On Forbort’s play tonight, specifically
The pace is obviously a lot quicker, we’re playing a different system than he’s used to, although he did practice it and play it a lot in Ontario when he was down there, but it is a different paced game, the skill level’s obviously different. I thought he handled himself well. We pay him to defend well, and I think he did most of that, for the most part. The polish and shot selection, making plays, coming out of his end that’s going to come eventually, but it will take a little while.

On playing the veterans over the younger players, and if the younger guys will still be in the rotation
They’ll come back in eventually, yes. I think, where we’re at as a team and what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to get to includes all those young kids. It’s important that they have an opportunity to play and develop here. At this moment, where we are on that evolution line, we have some players that we need in the lineup, we need them up and running and we need them to be playing real well, and you’re going to see that for a while. It may create some confusion amongst, probably not this room, but our fans or outside, because of how we want to turn the team over and grow, but where we are on that line right now, it’s important that players are playing and we get guys up and running. That’s where we’re going to be and that’s what we’re going to do for a little while.

Sean Walker on what Columbus did to earn the win tonight
I think they stuck to their game plan. They have a great work ethic and I think we saw it in the second period, obviously they took it to us there, so I think they played a good game and we didn’t capitalize on our chances enough.

On his high shot output, and his third period goal
I think our third was actually pretty good, I thought we took it to them again and got the forecheck going. They’re a great team at fronting shots, so I think luckily, finally I got one through. There were lots of guys screening him so he didn’t really see it and it went in. They stuck to their game plan and they just kind of outworked us there.

On what the message from Todd McLellan was as the team tried to come back
It’s kind of the same thing, just stick to our forecheck, I think you saw in the first, when we got to it, we were definitely keeping a lot of pucks down in their zone, and keeping it alive, and getting some chances. It was just that, go North with it, be clean and get shots on net.

Trevor Lewis on how things felt in his return to the lineup
Good. I mean, obviously couldn’t skate in a while, but it was nice to get back in there, finally. I thought our line had some good jump and some good forechecks. Obviously we would’ve liked to have got the win, for sure.

On what changed between the first and second periods
I think we were really on our forecheck in the first period. Credit them, they’re a good team and they came back and they forechecked us too. They’re good along the walls and their D were jumping up a lot. I think we had a couple of issues with some sort outs coming back into the zone, but other than that, I think we definitely had a chance to win that game.

On fighting back in the third, as opposed to Saturday
I mean, getting the goal was good, but we didn’t need to put ourselves in that position. It was a better effort tonight, but obviously we would’ve liked the two points.

Video Highlights

Postgame Notes
— With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 34-21-6 all-time against Columbus, a record that includes a home mark of 20-10-1. Tonight’s game concludes the season series between the two teams.
— With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 6-7-3 against the Eastern Conference, 3-3-2 against the Metropolitan Division, 9-8-4 in one-goal games, 14-6-3 when scoring the first goal, 12-3-1 when leading after one period, 1-21-1 when trailing after two periods and 11-18-2 when outshooting their opponent.
— Kings forward Tyler Toffoli skated in his 500th career regular-season game tonight. Toffoli is the 27th player all-time to reach 500 games played with the Kings.
— Forward Alex Iafallo extended his scoring streak to seven games with the game-opening goal. Iafallo has eight points (4-4-8) in total over that streak.
— Defenseman Sean Walker (1-1-2) collected multiple points for the third time in a game this season. Walker played 24:50 tonight, his second highest ice time in a game this season.
— The Kings received zero power plays tonight for the second time this season (11/14 vs. WPG). The one combined power play was the fewest in a game this season.
— Defenseman Derek Forbort appeared in his first NHL game this season. Forbort logged 14:25 and posted an even rating with three shots attempted (2 blocked, 1 missed).
— Los Angeles attempted 73 shots (37 on goal, 18 blocked, 18 missed). Columbus attempted 36 shots (24 on goal, 10 blocked, 2 missed). Defenseman Sean Walker led the Kings with six shots on goal and 11 shots attempted.
— The Kings won 28-of-44 faceoffs (64%). Michael Amadio won 7-of-10, Anze Kopitar won 7-of-13, Blake Lizotte won 4-of-10, Jeff Carter won 8-of-9 and Adrian Kempe won 2-of-2.

The Kings are scheduled to return to the ice tomorrow afternoon for an 11 AM practice at Toyota Sports Performance Center.

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