The LA Kings made it back-to-back wins on home ice, as they skated to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday evening at Crypto.com Arena.
The Kings jumped out to a hot start with two goals in a span of 19 seconds to open up a 2-0 advantage less than three minutes into the game.
First, skating on the power play, forward Quinton Byfield capitalized off a sequence of effective plays to open the scoring. Stationed in front of the net, Byfield got on the end of a centering feed from forward Anze Kopitar, burying on the second attempt, for a 1-0 advantage. Less than 20 seconds later, the Kings doubled their lead through forward Blake Lizotte, who scored off a turnover forced by forward Carl Grundstrom, for his fourth goal of the season.
Skating shorthanded, forward Adrian Kempe extended the lead to 3-0, as he tied for the team lead with his eighth goal of the season. Kempe sprung loose down the left wing, got in behind the St. Louis defense and deked to the backhand for the goal, his first shorthanded tally of the 2023-24 season.
Just inside five minutes to play in the period, the Kings took a four-goal lead, as forward Pierre-Luc Dubois got in on the action. Dubois executed a quick give-and-go with forward Arthur Kaliyev in the slot, as Dubois opened up in the right-hand circle and used a quick release to beat St. Louis netminder Jordan Binnington for his fifth goal of the season.
After a period that went without a goal for 19 minutes, and then some, forward Kevin Fiala scored his team’s fifth goal in the final minute of play to take a 5-0 lead into the second intermission. Off a Drew Doughty stretch pass to Trevor Moore, Fiala worked his way into the slot, took the feed form Moore and snapped a shot past Binnington for his second goal in as many games, and a five-goal advantage.
With less than four minutes in regulation, the Blues ended Cam Talbot’s shutout bid. Forward Jake Neighbours advanced into the offensive zone down the left wing, pulled the puck onto his forehand and snapped a shot past Talbot to get the visitors on the board with a consolation effort, his third tally of the season.
Hear from Dubois, Byfield and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.
On how the last 48 hours went and being able to play tonight
Yeah, I was a bit lucky, it could have been a lot worse, but the staff here did a great job of getting to the bottom of it as fast as possible. Yeah, could have been a lot worse. I’m lucky that I played tonight and I was happy to get a win here. I thought everybody played well tonight, Talbs played well as he always has this year, so it was really a team win.
On if he knew Arthur Kaliyev was going to feed him on his goal, and how that play developed
No, I didn’t. Arty likes to shoot it, but you always have to be ready and he made a great play. He probably could have shot it and might’ve scored too, but he made a great play, to have everybody fold and then I just had to put it in the back of the net. Great play by him. I was just trying to put it as high as possible without going over the net.
On seeing Alex Laferriere come off a scratch with a strong performance
Laffy’s still at the beginning of his career. I think every guy, when they start their careers, they’re on a cloud, they’re feeling good, they’re confident, they’ve felt like they’ve reached the top, but it’s a long season. I’m sure 90 percent of the guys that come into this league, at some point, reality kicks in and the schedule and the grind and these games, they just keep happening. You don’t have time to rest. Laf, he wasn’t playing bad, but he was doing things that he was getting frustrated with. When he’s skating, when he’s keeping it simple, he did a lot of great things out there tonight that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet, but you need players like that to win in this league. He was a big part of tonights win and a big part of our line.
On adjusting to playing with Arthur Kaliyev over the last three games
They’re two good players, they have two different skillsets. Arty’s a great shooter, he finds open space and shoots the puck, but what he’s been doing that has impressed me is he’s getting in on the forecheck. He’s a big guy, he gets on the forecheck, establishes himself as F1, separates the puck from the guy and then Laffy or I, we can get in there and get an ozone shift. Eerybody talks about his shot, because he has a great shot and he can score, but he’s been doing a lot of good things out there that that help the line out and so has Laffy.
On seeing the chemistry of his 5-on-5 line carry over onto the power play
I think so, just playing with these guys for a while now, then you add in Drew and Kev on that unit as well, I’m just trying to get open and get in front of the goalie’s eyes, let those guys just make plays on the outside. Tonight, I just got to the net, hoping they’d make a good play and I was just there to bury it.
On getting off to such a fast start in the first period
I think it’s important to always have good starts, get on teams early. I think it starts the momentum for the whole team on the first shift, it starts how you want to play tonight and I think we had a really strong period, got off to a good start with a 4-0 lead. The message was just to get on them early, get as many shots as we can and work it down low.
On bringing tenacity and puck retrievals onto his power-play unit
Yeah, I think they brought me to that unit to bring some energy, be a big body in front and win some puck battles. That’s my job and I want to be the best at that. Like I said, if I can just get the puck to Kopi, Kev, Drew, Juice on the outside and just get to the front, screen the goalie, that’s my main goal there. It worked out for me tonight.
On making a four-goal lead hold up, in situations that got tighter last year
Yeah, I think we came out really strong in the first. The next two periods weren’t too great, but we had a strong leads, so we were just trying to hold it off, trust the structure and as Todd always says, good game management as well. We tried to really take care of the puck, take care of our goalie as well, so I think you play for each other and play for our goalie at that point.
On getting a “statement” type win with all four lines scoring
I think we’ve had a couple of statement games early on in the season. A lot of them have come the road, which is a good thing and a bad thing, but we’ve got the home wins coming now, so that’s really good. I think the Toronto and Vegas games were statements all around, our forwards all playing really good, rolling four lines defense making the right plays, good sticks back there, obviously our goalies are really playing well. It’s really good when everything’s clicking, so we just want to keep that going as long as we can.
*McLellan noted in his availability that he did not have an update on forward Blake Lizotte, who left the game with “7-8 minutes left in the third”. McLellan did not have any status updates, but may have more come tomorrow morning.
– Adrian Kempe (1-1=2) scored his eighth goal of the season as part of his team-leading sixth multi-point outing of the year. Kempe’s shorthanded goal was the 10th of his career, tying Ziggy Palffy (10) for the sixth-most in team history.
– Blake Lizotte (1-0=1) scored his fourth goal of the season and first of his career against St. Louis. With the goal, Lizotte sits at 98 career points (34-64=98), two points shy of becoming the 25th undrafted skater to record 100 points with the Kings.
– Quinton Byfield (1-0=1) recorded his third goal and first power-play goal of the season.
– Kevin Fiala (1-0=1) collected his fourth goal and 17th point of the season (4-13=17), becoming just the fifth Kings skater in the last decade to tally at least 17 points in his first 16 games to start a season, and the first to do so since Drew Doughty (4-14=18, Oct. 14, 2021 – Jan. 6, 2022). Fiala has now recorded points in his last six games against the Blues (4-7=11), dating back to Jan. 1, 2022 (w/ MIN).
– Anze Kopitar (0-1=1) registered his eighth assist of the season and 756th of his career, moving one shy of tying Marcel Dionne (757) for the most helpers in franchise history. The assist was Kopitar’s 290th career power-play assist, breaking a tie with Dionne (289) for sole-possession of the most power-play assists in franchise history. Kopitar is the fourth active skater to record 290 power-play assists, behind Sidney Crosby (376), Nicklas Backstrom (335) and Evgeni Malkin (305).
– Pierre-Luc Dubois (1-0=1) netted his fifth goal of the season and seventh of his career vs. the Blues.
– Jordan Spence (0-1=1) collected his seventh assist of the season. Spence’s 16 points (2-14=16) ranks fourth among defensemen selected in the 2019 NHL Draft, behind Moritz Seider (13-90-103), Bowen Byram (18-29=47) and Cam York (6-28=34).
– Tonight’s game marked Drew Doughty’s 1,111th of his career, tying him with Dave Taylor for the third-most in Kings history, behind only Anze Kopitar (1,308) and Dustin Brown (1,296). Doughty’s 1,111 games played ranks seventh among active blueliners and 17th among all active skaters.
– Cam Talbot stopped 29-of-30 shots, improving his season record to 9-3-1.
– The Kings scored an even-strength, power-play and shorthanded goal in a single period for the 59th time in franchise history. The last time the Kings accomplished such feat was on March 26, 2023 vs. St. Louis.
– Quinton Byfield and Blake Lizotte scored 19 seconds apart in the first period, making the third-fastest pair of goals scored by the Kings this season: 12 seconds, Pierre-Luc Dubois (19:02 and 19:14) of P1 on Oct. 19 at MIN and 18 seconds, Adrian Kempe (14:32) and Anze Kopitar (14:50) of P1 on Nov. 4 at PHI.
– The Kings improved to 10-3-3 to reach the 10-win mark in 16 games. They’ve recorded 10 wins in a season in 16 or fewer games three times in the past decade (2017-18: 13 GP, 2015-16: 16 GP & 2013-14: 16 GP). The club is also 8-0-1 when scoring first this season – the only other teams without a regulation loss in that scenario are Washington (5-0-1), Colorado (5-0-0), St. Louis (7-0-0) and Florida (7-0-1).
The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow morning at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center, before they will travel to Arizona later in the day.