The LA Kings snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-0, shutout victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the final home game of the 2022-23 regular season.
Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped all 20 shots he faced as he recorded his first shutout as a member of the LA Kings. Forwards Arthur Kaliyev, along with defensemen Vladislav Gavrikov and Drew Doughty, each scored in the win.
After an opening period that saw neither side breakthrough, the Kings finally broke the deadlock more than 15 minutes into the middle stanza. Forward Blake Lizotte rounded the net in the offensive zone and fed Kaliyev in front, where the big winger converted on the second effort from the low slot for the game’s first goal, his 13th of the season.
The Kings doubled their advantage less than five minutes into the third period through Gavrikov, who scored for the second time in his last three games. Forwards Trevor Moore and Phillip Danault created space with a series of passes, before Moore fed a trailing Gavrikov, who fired cleanly past Vancouver netminder Colin Delia for the 2-0 advantage.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Doughty iced the game with an empty-net goal from behind his own goal line for the 3-0 final.
Hear from Korpisalo, Danault and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s win.
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On if tonight’s result can help build a bit of momentum heading into the playoffs
Yeah, absolutely. We knew that the last couple of games would be a little tougher, but obviously a big, big defensive game for us and we scored some goals. That’s the way we’ve got to play.
On the team’s defensive effort this evening
Yeah, we were pretty tight defensively, they’re not a bad team, actually a really good team, but we were tight defensively. Everyone wanted to be really good tonight and obviously a couple of big fights, everyone wanted to step up for each other, that was awesome.
On getting Mikey Anderson back tonight
He’s playing some heavy minutes for us, he’s been very steady, a steady d-man and a very complete player. He’s scored some goals for us as well, he makes the right plays and he’s really solid defensively. We missed him a lot.
On getting a shutout performance from Korpisalo in the win
Yeah, that’s pretty good for the confidence, Korpi was outstanding tonight. He had to make some huge saves at key moments, so you need that going forward into the playoffs.
On he and Moore contributing on Gavrikov’s goal and gaining confidence and momentum off of it
It’s been a little tough all year to get momentum. Mooresie was hurt for one quarter or half the year, so it’s hard to come back from this and get our pace back and get a playoff pace as well. We’re getting there, we’re almost there. One more game and just keep the momentum going, as a team as well.
On grinding out a win tonight over the Canucks
It was a hard game. You’ve got to give Vancouver credit, they’ve played really hard each of these three games that we played against them. I think that type of game is good for us to be playing in right now, rather than just a lackadaisical one. From the minute the puck dropped until the end it was competitive, it was hard, it was heavy. I liked to see that all our lines were engaged, we really didn’t have any tagalongs if you will and I thought when Korpisalo was tested, he was real solid, so that was a good recovery game for him as well.
On the impact that Mikey Anderson had on the group in his return
Everything gets slotted back to where it should be. He’s a hell of a player, he defends so well, he cleans up a lot of mistakes from teammates and brings a physical edge. He had a big big part of [the shutout], but the rest of the group played pretty well defensively as well.
On seeing Adrian Kempe drop the gloves in Game 81
Well, it’s not something that you want to see happen heading into the playoffs, but Adrian’s pretty competitive and that was a competitive moment, a competitive situation. He handled himself well against a very rugged player as well. Everybody came out clean and we’re fine.
On playing in a tight game without a ton of space available, going into the playoffs
Very good tune-up. As I mentioned earlier, this was a good game for us to play. Not a lot of space, very tight checking, on the boards and even in open ice, there wasn’t a lot of plays to be made. Faceoff circle, blocked shots, penalty kill, all the things you need to have in your game when the playoffs begin. We got an opportunity to use them all tonight, which was good for us.
On Arthur Kaliyev getting a big goal in a big game
There are not a lot of players who can stand over that and keep swinging away. He had one the other night, a rebound goal, where he almost batted it out of the air. Certain individuals have a knack for that, others could be looking at an empty net and keep missing it over and over again, unfortunately. Arthur has that knack of finding a bouncing puck and being able to bat it in. It’s good for him, he’s got some confidence back.
On getting contributions from both Gavrikov and Korpisalo in tonight’s win
It’s great to have them here. They’re big, huge pieces to our team and we’re excited about having them, but you don’t always get what you want at Christmas. The toys you have, you’ve got to still like and play with and be happy and we were prepared to do that. We got a better Christmas than what could have been and you have to give management a nod for that. They did a really good job of identifying what our needs were and they went out and acquired them. I think as that was happening, our team got a really big boost, I think some of our players were waiting for that. Blakey and his staff did an outstanding job and in turn, they put it back on our plate and ours being the coaching staff, the players and said “okay, now you’ve got your pieces, let’s see you do it.” That’s on us now. I think it’s going the way it’s supposed to go after the trade deadline, it doesn’t always happen that way, but we haven’t played the most important hockey yet.
On if his decision on a starting goaltender for Game 1 will extend into the weekend
Yeah, it will, I think we play Thursday, so you guys will start asking me Friday and then Saturday and I won’t tell you anything. Then, we’ll play Game 1, whenever that is, and I’m still not going to tell you. Got all of that out of the way already, saved us all a lot of time.
– Joonas Korpisalo stopped all 20 shots faced to earn his first shutout as an LA King and improve his record to 6-3-1 as a King and 17-14-4 on the year.
– Arthur Kaliyev scored his 13th goal of the season for his 28th point on the year, establishing a new single-season career high in points (13-15-28). Kaliyev now has four points over his last three games against Vancouver (2-2-4).
– Only three Kings skaters since 1990-91 have scored more goals for the franchise at 21 years of age or younger than Kaliyev (28): Anze Kopitar (79), Alex Frolov (38) and Drew Doughty (35).
– Vladislav Gavrikov extended his point streak into a career-long third game (2-1-3). Gavrikov’s goal marked his sixth of the season, setting a new single-season career-high in goals. Only Drew Doughty (5-5-10) has more points among Kings defensemen than Gavrikov since his Kings debut on March 2.
– Doughty registered his ninth goal of the season, reaching the 50-point mark for (9-41-50) for the fourth time in his career. Doughty ties Rob Blake (4x) and Steve Duchesne (4x) for the most 50-point seasons among Kings defensemen in club history.
– Phillip Danault notched his 36th assist of the season for his 54th point on the campaign, setting a new single-season career-high in points (18-36-54).
– Tonight’s victory marked the 26th home win of the season, tying a franchise record for most home wins in a single season previously set three times: 26 wins in 1990-91, 2005-06 and 2015-16.
– The Kings finished the 2022-23 regular-season home schedule with a 26-11-4 record with 56 points, the second-highest home point total in a single season (26-9-5, 57 PTS in 1990-91; 25-9-7, 57 PTS in 2014-15). Based on points percentage (PTS%), this year’s .683% at home ranks fifth-best in franchise history.
– The Kings improved to 46-25-10 (102 points) and matched the 1990-91 (46-24-10, 102 points) and 2015-16 (48-28-6, 102 points) campaigns for the second-most points in a single season in franchise history. The highest such total was set in 1974-75 (105 points).
The Kings have a scheduled team off day tomorrow and will return to the ice for practice on Wednesday at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.