March 7: Post-game notes, highlights, Todd McLellan quotes

Todd McLellan, on what he liked about the win:
Scoring goals, obviously. It’s not often that our team gets to celebrate that many times in one game. A lot of them came late, but we still enjoyed it. Gave our goaltender enough run support. I thought our penalty kill again was outstanding. We checked pretty well, got a little bit sloppy around our net there in the third, but for the most part it was a pretty good team game, so I’m starting to sound repetitive as a coach after a lot of games, which is a good thing. That means we’re finding some consistency, we’re doing some things right. We’re not cheating a lot to win, we’re winning the right way. It means we’re moving the needle forward. [Reporter: What does that mean when you say, ‘cheating?’] What does ‘cheating’ mean? Cheating means you’re in a situation where it can go one way or the other – 50-50 – and you pick the easy side. You pick the offensive side, you don’t stay in the battle. Cheating also means you’re extending your shifts much too long and you’re handing off a crappy situation off to your teammates. That type of stuff where the backcheck, you only work to the red line and then you buy a ticket and you watch the rest of it. That’s all cheating, and there’s a lot of different forms of it. Right now we don’t have a lot of it in our game, from Line 1 all the way through, and it’s allowed us to be effective.

McLellan, on the Alex Iafallo-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown connection:
They’re taking responsibility for the team and the group on both sides of the puck, and they’re working as hard defensively, I think, as they are offensively, and it’s allowing them to create chances. They tend to play against the other team’s top offensive players, and if they get caught cheating, the players on the other team – the offensive guys – you can take advantage of it. They’ve done that.

McLellan, on what he’s learned about Cal Petersen:
Pretty solid goaltender. Calm in the net, doesn’t seem to get fazed by mistakes or anything that might go wrong. Not a lot of rebounds or crap laying in and around the crease. I think our D feel comfortable with him in there, so we’ve found out a lot in a short period of time. There’s no doubt he’s a national hockey league goaltender. He just needs a little more time to grow his game live everybody else.

McLellan, on where he’d place Saturday’s game amongst their better performance of the recent run:
You know what, I’d mix it in. We can’t get fooled a little bit. It was a 4-3 game down until the last two minutes. Yeah, we scored to make it five, we get an empty-netter, another one, so that part of it, the number can be tricky. I think it was a 4-3 game with an empty-netter in my mind, and the group played pretty well that way. So, it would be up there. I can’t remember what we did yesterday, never mind 11 games ago. Right now, things are going well for us. We’ve Got to continue to practice well and get ready for another one. [Reporter: I guess just to follow up with that, too, Todd – what does it say about a team, you’ve won five in a row. There have been different circumstances in these games, the goaltenders have been terrific. But what does it say that the team isn’t playing – I don’t want to say ‘perfect’ – but playing not it’s best, if that’s fair to say, but still winning these games?] Yeah, we’re not perfect. Show me a perfect team and I’ll call you a liar, because there aren’t any. But we are able to play a well-structured game so when mistakes are made, we’re there to cover it up. The guys wearing those big fluffy pads in the goal crease have really helped us out in that scenario. We’ve found timely scoring. We probably had some games like this early in the year where we didn’t put the puck in the net, and eventually it cost you. Tonight, we got the goals, and we’ll take them.

McLellan, on whether continuity can be bridged from the end of one season to the start of another:
Every season’s a new event, a new time. Everything about it’s brand new and I don’t believe in bringing momentum in from one year to the next because so much can happen over the summer. I do believe in icing the best possible team we can, so if we continue to play really well, and you qualify after training camp to be on that team, then great. But you better come back to camp and show us again, and there are a lot of players right now – I’ve said it numerous times – desperately fighting to stay in the league and stay on our team. That will continue to the end of the year. You never bring back the same team, ever. It doesn’t happen anywhere in any scenario, so not everybody will be back. But if you are, you better start earning it at training camp. And we’re talking way ahead now, but it goes with your question.

Cal Petersen, on the win:
I think it was one of our best team efforts since I’ve been here. I think we controlled most of the game and really limited their chances and when we had a chance to score, we finished and put them on their heels the whole time. I think it’s indicative of how we’ve been playing so far.

Dustin Brown, on the team’s performance since the trade deadline:
Once you kind of get through the deadline as a player, as a group of players, you see teams start to play a little better after, regardless of their situation. Guys have been able to relax a little bit, in a good way, and focus on what we want to do. I think we’ve been well prepared and executed really well in our systems and that can snowball into everyone feeling good and playing better.

Dean Evason, on Minnesota’s lost:
That group played as hard as we’ve played in a while. Obviously, we made some mistakes; turnovers and mistakes defensively for sure. But, we still gave ourselves an opportunity at the end. I like the way we kept competing at the end.

Marcus Foligno, on Minnesota’s mistakes:
Yeah, I mean the turnovers. And a minute there where they get two goals right in a minute, or something like that. Those things kill you on the road. They’re just mistakes, and were a lot of mistakes out there. Just constant ones where we had momentum and then shot ourselves in the foot. They’re a team right now that’s playing pretty well in the sense of not having much to worry about and that’s maybe a little bit dangerous for teams that are gripping the stick a little bit too much. It seemed like we were doing that tonight.

Jared Spurgeon, on allowing a shorthanded goal:
Obviously shorthanded goals aren’t something you never want to give up if you’re able to come back and get momentum back. But unfortunately, they got a quick one right after as well. I think we did a good job of trying to fight back. But like I said, they were playing a pretty defensive game and it was tough to get through.”

Postgame Notes:

— The Kings won their fifth consecutive game, the longest winning streak since they won eight straight games from November 25 to December 9, 2017.
— The seven goals tie the most by the Kings this season (also October 12 vs. Nashville).
— Dustin Brown (3-1=4) registered his sixth career hat trick and now has 17 goals on the season, tied for second most on the team. Having scored his 297th, 298th and 299th goals of his career, he’s only one goal shy of 300.
— Anze Kopitar (1-2=3) notched three points to surpass the 60-point mark. He leads the team in goals (21), assists (41) and points (62). He also recorded a plus-5 rating, tied for the highest of his career (second time, October 21, 2017 at Columbus).
— Alex Iafallo (0-2=2) registered the ninth multi-point game of the season. His 42 points rank second on the team.
— Blake Lizotte (1-0=1) scored his sixth goal of the season and second career shorthanded goal. He has four points (2-2=4) in the last five games.
— Trevor Moore (1-0=1) tallied his third goal in 13 games since being acquired by the Kings, which prorates to 18.9 goals over 82 games.

Sunday, March 8 is an off-day. The Kings are next scheduled to skate at TSPC at 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 9, in advance of that night’s game against Colorado.

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