FINAL – Kings 4, Ducks 2 – Roy, Byfield, McLellan

The LA Kings came from behind to earn a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday evening at Crypto.com Arena. With the win, the Kings are now just two points away from securing a playoff berth for the first time since 2018.

Forwards Arthur Kaliyev and Alex Iafallo, along with defensemen Alex Edler and Matt Roy, each scored in the victory, while centermen Anze Kopitar and Quinton Byfield each had two assists. Jonathan Quick earned his fourth consecutive victory, as he made 19 saves in net.

The Kings scored the only goal of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Forward Quinton Byfield collected a loose puck in the slot, showed great poise to hold it for a split second before he fed Kaliyev for a tap-in tally at the back post, the 14th of the season for Kaliyev and the first of the evening by the Kings.

Anaheim surged back with a pair of goals in the first half of the middle stanza to take its first lead of the evening. First, Ryan Getzlaf fed Trevor Zegras through the slot, with the Ducks on the power play, and the latter fired home top glove to tie the game at one. Just shy of the halfway mark, Anaheim got a wonky goal, as Gerry Mayhew’s dump into the offensive end took an aggressive bounce over Quick’s stick on an attempted clearance, putting the visitors ahead 2-1.

Just over two minutes after conceding, however, the Kings bounced back through Roy, who wired home his second goal of the season. As the Kings transferred offensive-zone possession between two lines, Kaliyev held the puck out of the left corner, before he fed a trailing Roy, who one-timed the feed past Anaheim netminder Anthony Stolarz to tie the game at two.

After a back-and-forth start to the third period, Edler pulled the Kings ahead for good with his third goal of the season just over six minutes in. Byfield won a faceoff in the offensive zone, with the puck going directly back to Edler at the left point. Edler’s shot deflected off of an Anaheim player and in, putting the hosts ahead for good.

Alex Iafallo sealed the deal with an empty-net goal late in the third period to send the Kings to a 4-2 victory.

Hear from Roy, Byfield and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s win.

Matt Roy

On being one win away from clinching a playoff spot
We’ve kind of felt that way for a few weeks now. Every game has been a huge game for us, it’s just kind of felt like that, one game, let’s just get that one game. We’ve been chipping away and it’s nice to be in that spot.

On both he and Edler chipping in with goals tonight in a big win
Yeah, definitely. It’s something we’ve been trying to do all year, haven’t been doing a great job at it. Those are two pretty big goals tonight, so we’re pretty happy with it.

On his goal and how the play developed
I think I was in the neutral zone, I saw a passing lane and he gave it to me nice and soft. I was able to step into [the shot] and luckily it missed the guy in front of me and snuck through.

Quinton Byfield

On being one win away from clinching a playoff spot
It’s definitely amazing, we’ve worked all year for this and we’re where we want to be. Win and you get in. You don’t want to leave it up to anyone else, it’s a great feeling in the locker room. A lot of guys haven’t been there and I think it would be a great experience and we have a lot of veterans as well, who are going to show us the way.

On his line tonight with Kaliyev and Grundstrom
I think Carl, he has a lot of skill and he works super hard, he’s always finishing hits, he’s always getting in there. Arty, he has a crazy shot and he’s always making plays. I’m just trying to read off of those two guys. Last year in Ontario, me and Arty played a lot together, so there’s definitely some chemistry as well.

On what he’s learned from his time out of the lineup as a scratch
I’ve learned a lot. You can’t take anything for granted, you have to play every game like it’s your last, like you don’t know if you’re going to be in the lineup. Make it hard on them to take you out. I think that’s the mentality I’m going with now, I just want to show what I can do and make plays out there, remember that hockey is fun.

On growing up watching Ryan Getzlaf play and if he got the chance to say anything to him
I didn’t get to actually, I don’t think I took a faceoff against him. My first game when I was called up last year, my first draw was against him. He welcomed me to the league, he was very kind there. I wish I had the opportunity to say something to him, even after the game we were kicked out, but I definitely would have said something. He’s had a hell of a career, Hall of Famer. I wish I could have played against him more, I have a lot to learn off of him.

Todd McLellan

On being at the one-yard line, one win away from the playoffs
It feels like we’re getting close…who was that football team though that was at the one-yard line and threw an interception. Seattle? No, we’re getting close. Again, it’s the same thing, we’ve maintained control of our position, we want to continue to do that through Thursday.

On the team’s bounce back to the second goal allowed
[It was] big. The way the goal happened, obviously a freak bounce and the way Quickie has played for us, maybe it’s better that it went in that way than a real good play, because the guys buckled down and wanted to play for him. It’s a sign of a good team and of guys playing for one another.

On getting two goals from defensemen tonight
Our D has been in such a flux throughout the whole year and when you look collectively at the production of all 12 or 12, however many we’ve used, it hasn’t been that bad. We don’t have that one guy, I think Drew is still leading us in scoring when it comes to defensemen, and Durzi, and neither of them have played the full year, but they provide offense for us. They’ve been able to sustain plays, use their shots from the blueline, as we saw today. Tonight, Edler and Roy, good to see for those two, because they’ve had some tough minutes lately against some tough players, more in a checking role, a shutdown role. To see them contribute is a real good thing, and Byfield winning the faceoff, we’ve stressed certain areas for him and that was one area he excelled in, in that moment. He can do it.

On the performance of the fourth line tonight
I’ve liked their last six periods, they’ve been a factor in the games. They have physicality, there’s pace, there’s some size, puck movement and goals. All while being fairly responsible, their checking skills were pretty good, it’s a good look right now.

On Ryan Getzlaf and his final game against the Kings
You know what, it’s almost appropriate, he came into the league competing like that. He’s not out yet, but we’re done with him and in some sense that’s a good thing, because he’s a nemesis to our club here, but we’ll also miss him, because he does a lot for the game and the game in Southern California in particular. To have that in a rival, I thought it was appropriate that Quickie, Kopi and Brownie had their moments with Getzy because they’ve been going at it for a lot of years.

Notes –

– The Kings won their 43rd game of the season, the eighth time in franchise history they have won at least 43 games (last: 2017-18, 45).
– Anze Kopitar tallied the 700th and 701st assists of his career with a multi-point night. Kopitar is now sixth among active skaters in assists and is just the second Kings player to reach 700 assists (Marcel Dionne, 757).
– Arthur Kaliyev had a multi-point night (1-1-2), the second of his career. Kaliyev’s goal was his 14th goal of the season, tied for the 20th most by a first-year Kings player in franchise history.
– Quinton Byfield (0-2-2) recorded his second career multi-point game and first career multi-assist game.
– Defensemen Alex Edler and Matt Roy scored in tonight’s win, their third and second goals of the season respectively.
– With the empty-net goal, Alex Iafallo tied a career high with his 17th goal of the season.
– Jonathan Quick stopped 19-of-21 shots to earn his 22nd win of the season. Over his last four games he is 4-0-0 with a .944 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average.

The Kings have a scheduled team off day tomorrow. The team is set to return to the ice on Monday morning for an 11 AM practice at Toyota Sports Performance Center.

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