FINAL – Kings 3, Blues 2 (SO) – Kempe, Kaliyev, McLellan

A roller-coaster of a third period saw the Kings go from down, to ahead, to tied in what felt like no time at all. At the end of the day, it resulted in a 3-2 shootout victory for the hosts, extending their winning streak to three games.

Forwards Arthur Kaliyev and Adrian Kempe buried goals for the Kings, while the pair, plus forward Alex Iafallo, all scored in the shootout. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves in net, as he won for the second time in as many starts.

After a first period that did not feature a goal, St. Louis capitalized on their first power play of the evening to open the scoring in the middle stanza. Just five seconds into the man advantage, Brayden Schenn buried a Torey Krug rebound from close range to get the visitors on the board. It was the fifth power-play goal in the season series for the Blues.

The Kings fought back in the third period and were rewarded with the game-tying goal off the stick of Kaliyev. Streaking through the neutral zone, Kaliyev took a feed from Kale Clague, entered the offensive end, got himself in between the circles and uncorked a wrist shot past Jordan Binnington. It was the second of the season for Kaliyev, with Clague tallying an assist for the third straight game.

After a terrific shift below the goal line, the second line was rewarded with the go-ahead goal midway through the third period. Phillip Danault and Iafallo executed a cycle behind the net, with Iafallo feeding Kempe in front for the goal, his second of the season. Iafallo extended his point streak to four games with the primary assist.

With just 7.1 seconds on the clock, St. Louis forced overtime with a late goal from defenseman Torey Krug. After Anze Kopitar hit the outside of the empty net at one end, the Blues took it the other way, and a scramble in front led to Krug putting home a loose puck to tie the game at two.

After an overtime period that was heavily tiled the way of the Kings, but no goals, the game went to a shootout. As noted above, the Kings scored three times, while getting consecutive saves from Quick to close it out and improve to 4-5-1 on the season.

Hear from Kempe, Kaliyev and Head Coach Todd McLellan below.

Adrian Kempe

On what the team did well in the third period tonight
Against those guys, that’s the way we have to play. The first two periods, I think we did a pretty good job, but we didn’t really get a lot of chances in front of the net. If you look at the third period, we were throwing a lot more pucks there, getting more opportunities and ended up with a couple goals, it was good. They’re a hard team to play against, their special teams, their 5-on-5 game is really good. It took a while before we figured them out, but we came up with the win.

On the mood of the group following the
Obviously that’s not what we wanted, we wanted to win it in the first 60 minutes, but we came down from being down 1-0 in the third period. We told each other on the bench, let’s keep going here and we’re going to get our chances in OT, if not we have good players to finish in the shootout. That was nice.

On what he felt the team did better tonight against St. Louis than in the games there
First of all, we didn’t kill as much as we did in those games, so that helped a lot. Overall, for 6[5] minutes, we played solid, we didn’t give up as much as we did in St. Louis. We looked at the chances they had against us when we played there and we minimized those for sure. They’re a good team, they’re going to get chances, but Quickie was standing on his head as usual. We had a good push in the last period, and that got us the two points.

Arthur Kaliyev

On which he felt was the better shot, the goal or the shootout goal
I don’t know, probably regulation, maybe. It was an important goal too, to tie it, and it was up high [below] the crossbar.

On if scoring in regulation gave him confidence in the shootout
Yeah, a little bit. It’s always nice to get one in the game, but I think you always try to show confidence in the shootout. See what the goalie does, and it worked out well.

On his goal in regulation
I was trying to get speed, I saw an opening in the middle of the ice. I saw Claguer had the puck and I was trying to get as much speed as possible, I saw an opening and I had a chance to shoot it. I was lucky enough to have it go in.

Todd McLellan

On if there was a more excruciating way to earn two points than that game
You’re only talking about the last 30 seconds, let’s go through the game and then I’ll answer the question. Tight checking, not a lot going on either way, not a lot of chances created. Frustration in losing a draw seven seconds into a penalty kill and the rebound comes out and now we’re down by one. They’re playing the game they normally play, tight-checking, and then we come back and we play in the third. We had nothing to lose, we play hard, and now we’re going to go to what I think what you’re talking about, those last few seconds. The last two [games] we’ve had veteran players that have had the puck on their tape, heading towards an empty net, and it didn’t work for us. The other night, Brownie threw it into the middle, tonight it didn’t work with Kopi and it came back and cost us. Even the goal, I don’t know what we would do on it. It hits Quickie, it bounces, it goes over a few people, it goes off Kopi’s foot and it’s in our net. Where was the mistake made? Probably not hitting the open net.

On if he felt the tide started to turn in the third period
I really think that between the second and third, we had to decide if we were going to let frustration sink in for another period, or if we were going to try and play through it. I don’t think anybody in our locker room gave the other team enough credit for how well they check. They’re in first place in the Central Division, they’ve got the top penalty kill and power play, or the top two, they check as well as anybody in the league, they’ve got elite goaltending, so why wouldn’t it be a 1-0 game. If anybody thought it was going to be a 6-5 game, that would have been the mistake. The adjustment wasn’t how we were playing, but how we were playing between our ears. Clean it out a little bit and let’s go.

On stepping on the throttle more in the third period.
Well, we didn’t want to open it up, because that’s probably not going to favor us. We still had to check, but we had to play less frustrated, maybe dumb it down a little bit, simplify it in the offensive zone. We got a break on Kaliyev’s goal, he can shoot the puck, I don’t know if it ramped off the stick, but the second goal we really worked for it. A wrap, a jam, a battle net front, it didn’t have to be cute and that cleared out some of the frustration as well.

On the shifts of the Moore line, in advance of the goal
You could feel it a little bit. I don’t know what it felt like watching it in whatever section you were in, but on the bench, you could feel a little bit of momentum coming our way, and that wasn’t really there all night. I’m not sure that it was there for their team either, it was just the type of game that was being played. A little bit of cat and mouse both ways, but you could feel it start to turn in our favor at that point.

On the group’s resiliency and what the team is showing with three straight wins
Yes, resiliency is a good word, but I didn’t think we were that bad when we lost. We were bad in St. Louis. Four power-play goals and a shortie, that’s a bad night. We were good in Dallas, we were okay in Nashville, we were close in Nashville. I think we deserved to win in Dallas, but they found a way to comeback. The second night in St. Louis, 3-0 game, it’s like tonight, it really is. It’s back and forth and they capitalized on an individual mistake to get the first one, they block a shot with four minutes left in the game when we’ve got to open it up and gamble a little bit and they got an empty netter. We played just as well that night as we did tonight, so coming home, I didn’t think we were a 1-5-1 team, or whatever our record was when we came home. We also played seven of our ten games against Central Division teams, and top-end teams, we’re trying to get up in their weight class. We’ve got to take all of that into consideration, but the resiliency to overcome the injuries, yes.

Notes –

– Forward Alex Iafallo extended his point streak to four games with the assist on Adrian Kempe’s goal. Iafallo has six points in that span as he tied the longest scoring streak by a Kings player this season.
– Defenseman Kale Clague tallied an assist for the third straight game, all primary helpers. Clague has a point in each game he’s played this season.
– Goaltender Jonathan Quick recorded his second consecutive victory, as he made 33 saves on 35 shots in the win.
– Defenseman Matt Roy led all Kings with 23:14 in time on ice, just ahead of Kale Clague, who was also over 23 minutes. Clague’s TOI, 23:05, was the second-highest of his NHL career.

The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.

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