If you were in search of a bounce-back performance from the LA Kings, you were likely pleased with tonight’s game.
The Kings put together perhaps their best effort of the season to date, with a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. The Kings scored two goals in 23 seconds late in the first period, to take the lead, and put together a dominant effort in the middle stanza, with three more goals, to open up a commanding lead through 40 minutes.
St. Louis pulled two back, in a 48-second span in the third period, to make things interesting, but the Kings were able to hold on for the victory, their second of the season.
Anze Kopitar led the way with three points (1-2-3), including his first goal of the season, as he moved into a tie with Mitch Marner for the NHL lead in points. Adrian Kempe had a multi-point night (0-2-2), while Lias Andersson scored his first goal as a member of the LA Kings and Kale Clague collected his first career NHL assist and point.
Hard to find too many non-bright spots from that one, and we’re certainly not going to try.
Hear from Andersson, Kopitar and Todd McLellan after tonight’s game.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) January 25, 2021
On tonight’s win
I thought we came out with a little bit more authority. That first period, even though we didn’t score a whole lot of goals, I thought it was one of the best periods we’ve played. Being aggressive, being on top of pucks and shooting the puck too. Second period, the floodgates kind of opened up for us, and the third, we’ll work on it.
On Adrian Kempe’s game, and him as a linemate
I think he’s a really good player, with really good skill and high speed. We’re just trying to use it as much as we can, try to get him in the spots where he can shoot the puck, because obviously, his shot is good. Trying to put him in a position where he can shoot it and create offense for us.
On getting production from throughout the lineup
It’s always huge. We always talk about depth scoring, and I think today was a perfect example. We’ll take it all we can get, obviously.
On his own personal production, as he leads the NHL in points
I feel good on the ice, I’m seeing the ice pretty well, but I think there’s still room for improvement in certain areas. I’ll keep on working on it, and hopefully get better.
On if the first 40 minutes tonight was the most complete hockey the team has played this season
I would say without a doubt. All three zones were solid, we were skating, there was a tenacity to us, we were responsible. I thought it was the first time we took the game to a team, rather than receiving it. Obviously we’ve got work to do in the third, but we’ll accentuate all the positives tonight.
On creating goals, as opposed to conceding them, off of turnovers
Well, we were much better in our end, which allowed us to get on the forecheck. The pieces were all working together and our forecheck, where maybe the night before was only 1 to 3 pieces, tonight it was able to be 4 or 5, and the extra piece helped us keep a lot of pucks alive and play in their end in the first two periods anyhow.
On what he liked most about tonight’s win
I liked our start. We weren’t particularly happy with Lizotte’s line last night and we were very honest with them, we told them that. We started them and they gave us a great first shift and a very aggressive first shift, and the group followed that, which is a good sign. I liked the way we broke pucks out of our end against a really good forechecking team. I thought we managed the neutral zone and passed the puck a lot better. On the negative side, in the third, the little sag that we had, and a little bit of panic. That’s not necessary, we should have the same poise that we had in the first two periods, but we expected their push and they gave it to us. In the end we held strong.
On the team’s increased offensive output this season
It’s never easy, there’s no such thing as easy for any team, it’s hard to score in the NHL. I think we have a little more depth and we are more familiar with the tactics and the structure that we want to play with, so we’re a little bit more predictable. Let’s face it, our power play is further ahead than it was last year at this time, I think we’ve scored a goal or come close to scoring every game on the power play, which definitely helps us and gives us some confidence offensively. We’ve scored goals on faceoff plays that we never had in place last year, at least in the first half of the season, so a lot of it is just being around each other for a year and a bit now.
– The six goals scored tonight were the most in a road game for the Kings since March 22, 2018 in Colorado, when the Kings netted seven times.
– Adrian Kempe collected a point for the fourth straight game, with two assists on the evening. Kempe is now one game shy of his longest career NHL point streak, set from February 4 – 11, 2019.
– Kopitar, Alex Iafallo and Drew Doughty have each collected a point in their last four games played against St. Louis, dating back to last season
– With an assist on Kopitar’s second-period goal, Kale Clague collected his first career NHL point.
– Forward Lias Andersson scored his first goal as a member of the LA Kings, with his second-period tally.
– Carl Grundstrom scored his first goal of the season, and his first NHL goal since April 5, 2019 against Anaheim.
– The Kings have now given up the first goal in all six games played so far this season, one of two teams in the NHL that has not scored a first goal this season.