FINAL – Kings 4, Jets 1 – Korpisalo, Doughty, McLellan

The LA Kings tied a franchise record, as they pushed their point streak to 11 games, with a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon at Arena.

Forward Viktor Arvidsson led the Kings with a pair of goals, while defenseman Drew Doughty and forward Alex Iafallo also scored in the victory. The Kings also got 25 saves from goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, who improved to 4-0-1 since joining the organization earlier this month.

The Kings opened the scoring off a faceoff play early in the first period, the lone goal from the opening 20 minutes. Forward Trevor Moore won the faceoff in the offensive zone directly back to Arvidsson, who snapped a quick wrist shot inside the far post and in for his 21st goal of the season and his second tally in as many games.

The middle stanza also started with an early goal for the Kings, as they connected on the power play to increase their lead to two goals. Forward Phillip Danault rounded the net, from behind the goal line, and fed Iafallo through the crease for the slam-dunk finish at the back post. The Kings have three power-play goals over their last two games, courtesy of Iafallo’s 11th goal of the season.

Winnipeg got on the board late in the second period, with a power-play goal off the stick of forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. After a five-minute major penalty was assessed to Kings forward Blake Lizotte for cross-checking, the Jets converted late in the sequence, as Dubois scored short side from the left-hand circle, to bring the visitors within a goal through 40 minutes of play.

Less than a minute into the third period, the Kings pulled back ahead by two goals through Doughty, who scored for the fourth time in his last four games. Off another faceoff win, the puck was moved to Doughty at the right point, where he walked in and snapped a shot past a screened Connor Hellebuyck for his seventh goal of the season and a 3-1 advantage.

Arvidsson added the empty-net goal, for a multi-point night, to seal the final score at 4-1.

Hear from Korpisalo, Doughty and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.

Joonas Korpisalo

Drew Doughty
On beating Winnipeg by playing Kings hockey tonight
Yeah, we talked about it before the game, they’ve scored a lot of goals against us this year and we wanted to tighten that up. There’s a chance we can play them in the playoffs, you never know, so we wanted to tighten that up and we did a great job and I thought Korpi played amazing in net.

On the importance of maintaining that style and approach into the postseason
Yeah, most definitely. I think that for the majority of these games we’ve won, we’ve kind of outplayed the other team for almost 60 minutes and that’s an important thing to be able to do, to take into playoffs. That’s not the only way you can win in playoffs, but that’s a big part of it. I really like the way we’re playing right now, but we got to keep it going as the playoffs approach.

On his goalscoring production here over the last five games
I mean, I definitely looked at my goal total and was like I’m not going to be worse than my first year in the league. I definitely haven’t been happy about it all year, it’s been something that’s been frustrating me and the puck is just going in, you know how goals are you know, you get hot at times and obviously I’m a little bit hot right now with scoring goals. It feels good to finally get back on the score sheet, but I don’t want to waste them all before playoffs come, that’s for sure.

On the PK late in the second and starting the third period strong
The guys that started the third, that was an important part of the game actually. Right off the bat, they got the puck in the zone and I think they might have gotten a scoring chance and they had some offensive-zone time and we got the offensive-zone whistle. That was a critical part to the game. Going back to Lizzo’s penalty, that’s one that we would’ve loved to kill off all five minutes, but our PK was stellar tonight. I was really proud of our PK, it’s unfortunate they got one goal, but when a guy like Lizzo gets a penalty like that, a guy who does everything for us, we were very determined to kill that one for him. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get it done.

Todd McLellan
On the team’s approach in winning today’s game against Winnipeg
[Important] to beat any team, but I thought tonight we played pretty much the game that allows us to have success. The penalty kill got a little too much of a workout, but it did a really good job against a power play that’s one of the top ones on the road and we were able to find a way to score one on a very good goaltender. Our team play, as a whole, was where it needed to be.

On if he felt the Kings “got the engine going” right off the bat
I think for the most part we did, yeah. We were on our toes, we were aggressive, winning some races to the puck and the impressive thing is we didn’t try and extend it out and stay too long, we handed off a good shift. When our team is playing well, we can stay ahead and do that. We scored first, which always favors us, but then the penalty kill had to go to work and that’s where they got a little bit of life. Maybe they didn’t score but they got back into it energy wise at that at that point.

On the progress of this group over an extended stretch, leading into this winning streak
I think our progress is just a reflection of what’s always been there. That type of play, that we’ve been playing with lately, was in us earlier in the year but we just didn’t quite want to grasp it. We wanted to try it a different way, sometimes it takes a while to figure it out, but right now we’ve figured it out to this point and it’s going to get a lot tougher going forward.

On filling in for Lizotte after the penalty and getting the kill for him
Yeah, we talked about that. Losing Lizzo is hard to begin with, because he’s energizes our team. He does a lot of really good things and I thought he energized our penalty kill tonight, everybody wanted to kill for him. We talked about dismantling some of the lines, obviously Quinton can play in the middle, Gabe can play in the middle, Mooresy’s played in the middle, but we also wanted to run Kup a little bit more, get his minutes up to see if he could handle it. He did a really good job. We juggled around a little bit and got through it.

On if Doughty is doing anything differently leading to 4 goals from 5 games
I think it’s shooting it more, he’s hitting the net more, he’s shooting it. Interestingly enough, when you think of Drew’s shots, normally you think of him scoring with that big slapper and [now] they’re quick wristers, quick snappers, a foot off the ice through traffic, hitting the net and making the goaltender work. It’s going in for him right now.

On the pride taken from the stretch of allowing two or fewer goals this month
That is something that we can hang our hats on and that we’re pleased about. Again, I don’t go in and trumpet it in the locker room, but we take a lot of pride in that. We feel like we’ve got to protect the goaltenders and help them out, the D and the forwards, and a lot goes into that. Shot blocking, faceoff coverages, breakouts, shift length, you can go on and on, it goes into defending. That we will acknowledge and that we will keep preaching for sure.

Notes –
– The Kings extended their overall point streak to 11 games, tying the longest such run in franchise history previously set from Feb. 28 – March 24, 1974 and matched from Jan. 22 – Feb. 17, 2011 and from Nov. 7-27, 2013.
– The Kings also extended their home point streak to 12 games (10-0-2), dating back to Feb. 11 (6-0 W vs. PIT). It is the largest home point streak the Kings have established since the 1992-93 season (13 GP, 12-0-1-0, Oct. 10 – Dec. 8, 1992).
– Phillip Danault recorded his 32nd assist of the season and 200th of his career. Danault’s assist also marked his 300th career NHL point (100-200=300). In doing so, Danault became the 18th different skater from the 2011 NHL Draft to reach the 300-point mark.
– Viktor Arvidsson (2-0-2) scored his 21st and 22nd goals of the season to give him six points over his last five games (4-2-6).
– Drew Doughty (1-1-2) earned his 11th multi-point effort of the season, including tallying his his fourth goal over his last five games (4-1-5). Doughty’s assist marked his 40th of the season for his third career 40-plus assist season.
– Alex Iafallo notched his 11th goal on the year, reaching the 30-point mark for the fifth straight season (11-19-30). He becomes one of 10 active undrafted players to record five or more 30-point seasons.
Anze Kopitar eclipsed the 40-assist mark for the 13th time in his career, surpassing Marcel Dionne (12) for the most 40-assist seasons in Kings history.
– Joonas Korpisalo stopped 25-of-26 shots for his fourth win as an LA King (4-0-1) and improved to 15-11-4 on the season.

The Kings will return to the ice for morning skate tomorrow at 10:30 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center, in advance of a 7:30 PM puck drop versus the St. Louis Blues at Arena.

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