FINAL – Kings 8, Flames 2 – Grundstrom, Kempe, Byfield

The LA Kings extended their point streak to ten games, and their home point streak to 11, via an 8-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday evening at Arena.

The Kings were led by a three-point night from forward Adrian Kempe (2-1-3), one of eight Kings skaters to collect multiple points in the victory. Forward Carl Grundstrom also added two goals in the win, while Mikey Anderson, Viktor Arvidsson, Drew Doughty and Gabriel Vilardi also scored.

The Kings stormed out of the gates in the first period with four goals, opening up a 4-0 advantage through 20 minutes.

Just eight minutes into the game, Grundstrom extended his scoring streak to three games with the game-opening goal. Forward Zack MacEwen fed a pass into the slot that deflected off of Rasmus Kupari’s stick, right to Grundstrom, who deked to the backhand, around Calgary netminder Jacob Markstrom and in for his tenth goal of the season.

The Kings then scored twice in a span of 57 seconds to open up a three-goal advantage. Doughty made it 2-0 just over three minutes later, as his wrist shot from the right point evaded a lot of traffic in front and snuck in on the blocker side for his third goal in four games. An aggressive forecheck saw forward Blake Lizotte deflect a puck behind the net, right to linemate Alex Iafallo, who fed Vilardi in front for the goal.

LA capped off the opening period with a power-play goal, off the stick of Arvidsson, to take a 4-0 advantage into the first intermission. Skating with newly assembled units, Arvidsson took a feed from Kempe through the slot and one-timed it past Markstrom for his 20th goal of the season, the fifth Kings skater this season to bury 20 or more goals.

Calgary got on the board less than a minute into the second period, as former Kings forward Tyler Toffoli got his team’s first of the evening. After a Kings turnover behind Copley’s net, Toffoli buried a chance in front, two passes later, for his team-leading 28th goal of the 2022-23 season.

Kempe brought the team’s total on the evening to six with a pair of goals in the second period, for a 6-1 advantage at the second intermission.

First, he took a stretch pass through traffic from defenseman Alex Edler, moved in alone on Markstrom and got his shot to go for the 5-1 advantage. The Sweden buried his 34th goal of the season with just over six minutes to play in the second for the 6-1 lead. Kempe took a pass in transition from linemate Quinton Byfield, skated into the right-hand circle and beat Markstrom high on the glove side for the five-goal advantage.

The visitors added their second of the evening through defenseman Noah Hanifin midway through the third period. After a give-and-go in front, Hanifin got the return feed from Blake Coleman and put it home for his sixth goal of the season.

Goals seven and eight from the Kings came late in the third period, bringing us to the 8-2 final score. First, defenseman Mikey Anderson scored his first career power-play goal, a wrist shot off a feed from forward Phillip Danault, for his fifth goal of the season. Grundstrom concluded the scoring with his second goal of the evening, a pinpoint shot off a 2-on-1 rush, for his 11th tally of the season.

Hear from Grundstrom, Kempe, Byfield and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.

Carl Grundstrom

Adrian Kempe
On the team’s play across three zones tonight
Yeah, it was as good as it’s been in a long time, I feel like, everything worked out for us. All the way from the d-zone, to the neutral zone, to the o-zone, we executed well and we were really effective in the o-zone. It was a good and fun game for us.

On the team’s success on the forecheck this evening
Over the last little while, we’ve been doing well on the forecheck. I feel like our line especially, we felt like that was something that we had to get better on and since Q’s been on our line, we’ve been getting a lot better in that area. We got rewarded with some goals tonight, so that was nice for us and for the team.

Quinton Byfield
On if that was as clean a 60 minutes as the Kings have played in a while
I think so, I think we got the lead early and then we didn’t look back on there. We came out, played our game right off the start and once we took the lead, we just kept playing the right way and the goals just kept coming for us.

On how he’s feeling about his line right now
We feel good with our game. We go against other team’s top lines and we’ve played good defense, we take a lot of pride in that as well. If you’re doing the right things there, we’ll get the opportunities and we’re producing right now.

On doing the right things in hopes that the goals will follow
I think so. I think the goals will come, hopefully, but I’m happy just being out there, just trying to be difference-maker out there each time. Whether it’s just with my body or just passing, just trying to get it to those guys. Juice, he’s a scorer, he can shoot it and you just get him the puck and you saw what he did there, he just picks the corner.

On if it feels like every time he gets the puck to Adrian Kempe it’s going to go in
Basically, yeah. When he’s coming through the neutral zone with a lot of speed, I’m just trying to get it to him. He just beats everyone and when he shoots on net, I think it’s going in every time.

Todd McLellan
On the team performance in tonight’s game and giving the team the day off tomorrow
Well, if it was 8-2 the other way we would be taking the day off, but they certainly earned it tonight. They played a hell of a game. I thought our puck pressure and our tenacity was at its best, both when we had the puck and when we didn’t it. It allowed us to create turnovers and take advantage of them.

On matching Calgary’s “must-win” intensity, as he alluded to this morning
I think tonight we were able to do that, definitely. I think it was Jim Hiller who said just before the game it just felt a little bit different than it did the other night. That doesn’t mean the opponent the other night was any different, but just our team was maybe a little more focused, so that’s a good thing.

On Quinton Byfield’s evolving and improving play
I think he reads and anticipates where the play is going. He’s got really quick feet, he’s got a long, long reach, that extension of his stick allows him to close ice down quickly. When he gets there, he’s got a pretty good tenacity and I think he’s on his feet so much more this year than he was in the past. It means he’s getting stronger, he stays in those battles, he comes out of those battles. Just a young man that’s maturing.

On the play of the fourth line tonight
I want them to push for ice time, night in and night out, they played very well and they have. It doesn’t matter if Arthur’s in there, JAD’s in there, Mac, whoever it might be, you’re still only given 60 minutes a nigh and they got a lot of good minutes tonight, they were rewarded for their hard work. It’s their job to make our decisions difficult, not easy, and they’re doing that right now.

On utilizing that line in a power-play situation late in the third period
It was 6-2 with seven minutes left, 5-on-3. We needed to reward the fourth line players for the work they did, they did a real good job, so in that situation, I think it’s important that our team knows we’re willing to do that for them and we chose to do that.

On if he and the team prefer to “fly under the radar” as opposed to be nationally discussed
I don’t think any of us really care what the pundits – you guys all have jobs to do, they’re hard jobs – but none of us really care. We just play and we’re going to try and keep it that way as long as we possibly can. We just know we’ve got to practice twice this week and get better, because the next game is going to be important.

McLellan added that he did not have an update on Gabriel Vilardi, who left the game in the third period. “I don’t, no, not right now. He obviously went into the boards hard and was getting looked at.”

Notes –
– Adrian Kempe (2-1-3) recorded the ninth, three-point game of his career and his third of the season. His pair of goals moves him one shy of tying his career high of 35 set in 2021-22. Since his NHL debut season (2016-17), no Kings skater has scored more multi-goal games than Kempe (19).
– Carl Grundstrom (2-0-2) extended his goal streak into a career-long third game (4-1=5). With his goals, Grundstrom established new single season career-highs in goals and points (11-6=17).
– Grundstrom became the 10th different Kings forward with 10 or more goals this season. The last time the Kings had 10 forwards with 10+ goals in a single season was the 2009-10 campaign: Anze Kopitar (34), Dustin Brown (24), Ryan Smyth (22), Michal Handzus (20), Alex Frolov (19), Wayne Simmonds (16), Jarret Stoll (16), Scott Parse (11), Brad Richardson (11) and Justin Williams (10).
– Drew Doughty (1-1-2) netted his third goal over his last four games and recorded his 10th multi-point effort of the season.
– Viktor Arvidsson (1-1-2) registered his 20th goal of the campaign to become the fifth Kings skater to reach the 20-goal plateau this season. Arvidsson has reached the 20-goal mark in back-to-back seasons with the Kings and for the fifth time in his career.
– Gabriel Vilardi notched his 23rd goal of the season to give him points in eight of his last 10 outings (5-4-9).
– Mikey Anderson (1-1-2) recorded his third multi-point game of his career with his previous two coming earlier this season (0-2-2 on Oct. 15 at MIN; 1-1-2 on Nov. 29 vs. SEA).
– Anze Kopitar (0-2-2) recorded his 280th career multi-point game, moving one multi-point effort shy of tying Dave Taylor (281) for fourth-most in Kings history. Kopitar’s two-point performance is his 15th such outing against the Flames. Only Paul Stastny (20) has more multi-point games vs. Calgary among active skaters than Kopitar. Per NHL PR, Kopitar’s two-point first period (0-2-2) marked his 41st multi-point first period to tie Dave Taylor for the fourth most in Kings history. The only others with more: Marcel Dionne (65), Wayne Gretzky (53) and Luc Robitaille (52).
– With two assists, Quinton Byfield (0-2-2) eclipsed the 20-point mark for the first time in his career (3-18=21). Byfield has earned 10 points in his last 10 games (1-9-10) dating back to Feb. 28 at WPG. Byfield became the 19th different skater 20 years of age or younger in Kings history to record a 20-point season. Only five other Kings skaters have done so in the last 20 years: Arthur Kaliyev, Drew Doughty (2x), Wayne Simmonds, Anze Kopitar (2x) and Alex Frolov.
– Zack MacEwen collected his first point as an LA King. His assist was also his 10th point this season, setting a new single season career-high.
– The Kings extended their home point streak to 11 games (9-0-2) with tonight’s victory. It marks just the fourth time in team history the Kings have established a home point streak of at least 11 games. Overall, the Kings extended their point streak to 10 games (8-0-2) and tied the second longest run in franchise history (also 10 GP from Oct. 16 – Nov. 5, 1980 & Oct. 24 – Nov. 15, 1974). Their lengthiest run is 11 games set from Feb. 28 to March 24, 1974 and matched from Jan. 22 – Feb. 17, 2011 as well as from Nov. 7-27, 2013.
– Fourteen different skaters tallied a point tonight for the Kings, matching their season-high previously accomplished last week on Mar. 14 vs. NYI.
– 8 different skaters had multi-point evenings, just the second time since 1991 the Kings have had eight or more players with multiple points in a game.
– Per NHL PR, the Kings scored eight goals in a game for the second time this season (8 on Nov. 29 vs. SEA) – the last time they netted more in a contest was Feb. 9, 2016 (9 at BOS).

The Kings have a scheduled team off day tomorrow. They will return to the ice for practice on Wednesday, March 22 at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.

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