Final – Kings 3, Wild 4 (OT) – Kempe, Anderson, McLellan

For the second straight game to open the season, the LA Kings carried a 3-1 lead into the third period. And, for the second straight game, they were unable to hold onto it in a 4-3 overtime defeat. The Kings conclude the two-game set against Minnesota with two points, and an 0-0-2 record, but will head into tomorrow knowing it could have and should have been more.

Also for the second straight night, however, Jeff Carter had a multi-point game, as he tallied assists on both second-period goals, as the Kings took a tie game through 20 minutes and opened up a two-goal lead. Andreas Athanasiou scored for the second straight game, while Gabriel Vilardi and Blake Lizotte opened their scoring accounts on the season.

On the contrary, however, the Kings conceded a goal with 1.4 seconds left in regulation, which forced overtime for the second straight night. The overtime goal was equally backbreaking, coming just 11 seconds from the final buzzer.

Hear from Adrian Kempe, Mikey Anderson and Head Coach Todd McLellan below.

Adrian Kempe

Mikey Anderson

On if losing these kinds of games can be a teaching moment for younger players learning how to win
Yeah, definitely. Winning teams, you have to learn how to play with the lead, you have to learn how to play in a tight game, play from behind. We’ll have to look at what happened the last couple of games, we’re giving up too many third-period goals. Definitely lean on some of the older guys and try to get better and not have it happen again.

On approaching the game heading into the third period
Tonight, we held onto the lead a little bit longer, but coming into the third period with the two-goal lead, it’s not about sitting back and trying to not give up a goal, but make a push offensively. Getting on the forecheck, getting pucks out, get pucks in, not really changing much of how the game was going before the third.

On his pairing with Matt Roy
I think the two of us complement each other well. He’s a very smart player, I like to think both of us are thinkers out there, we think the game pretty similarly. We’ve been able to communicate well, which has allowed us to have some success so far together, hopefully we can keep that going. Even getting called up last year, he was my partner, and he’s a guy that showed me, day-by-day, how to go into the rink. Out there, he’s teaching me to keep it simple, make plays quick and he’s been good for me so far.

On the talk amongst the team, heading into the third period with another 3-1 lead
It was about keeping the push on, not taking our foot off the gas. If we sit back and go into a shell, we’re kind of just asking them to pepper us, giving up higher-quality chances. It’s about sticking to what gave us the lead, getting pucks in, getting in on the forecheck and playing a heavy game.

Todd McLellan

On his thoughts on tonight’s defeat
Quite frankly, I’m disappointed right now, just like the rest of the group. That’s two games that played out almost identical in a lot of different ways, and there’s no reason why we should let either of them get away from us, but they obviously did. There are things we need to work on. Still not happy with the penalties that we’re taking, some of them were awful decisions. Too many men on the ice, different situations that are completely preventable. Is it because we haven’t played for a while? Possibly, but I think that would be using it as an excuse. I didn’t think we were ready to play tonight and that’s not a good sign for us at all, especially early in the season. Their first goal, we went over that faceoff probably ten minutes before we went out and the very first one in our end they scored off of. Quite disappointed in a lot of guys tonight, but we’ll work on it and we’ll get ready for the next one.

On taking too many penalties, and the Minnesota goal immediately after a penalty expired
It’s the same script as the other night, same result. The game played a little different, but you take penalties and you wear your team out. Individuals don’t get on the ice and the other team’s best penalties get touches and they begin to feel real confident about playing with the puck and making plays, and that’s what happened. We were exhausted at the end of that penalty kill, we couldn’t get a [full-ice clear] and we couldn’t get fresh people on, and it’s in our net. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a lot harder to correct than we might think. Some of it is practice habits, where we’ve got to be on them a little bit more, some of it’s just getting mentally engaged and playing situations better.

On possibly switching up the forward combinations, and cleaning up the defensive play
We’ve only played six periods in our last 300 days. The argument has to be made, are we prepared to let lines gel, and find a way through all this, or are we going to make radical changes and shuffle everything up. I think we go for the first more than the second, just for the sake of we’ve got to get up and running. The offense, again, three goals was enough. The defensive side of it, the stupid plays we’re making and walking to the penalty box, is hurting us right now. We can fix that, but we’ve got to make a point of doing it, individually and then collectively.

Notes –

– Jeff Carter (0-2-2) collected multiple points for the second straight game. It was the first time since November 1 and November 3, 2018 that Carter collected two or more points in consecutive games, and the first time in his career he’s tallied multiple points in his first two games of the season.
– With three assists this season, Carter is tied with several players for second-most in the NHL through the first four days of league action.
– Andreas Athanasiou is the first player to score a goal in his first two games with the LA Kings since Carl Grundstrom in 2019.
– The Kings have now earned a point in 11 of the last 14 games against the Wild at STAPLES Center (8-3-3)
– Through two games, the Kings are one of eight teams across the NHL that has yet to concede a power-play goal. LA is also tied for second in the NHL in times shorthanded per game (5.5) and third in shorthanded time per game (9:19).

Tomorrow is an off-day for the Kings. The team is next scheduled to skate on Monday at Toyota Sports Performance Center, time to be announced.

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