The LA Kings opened the 2021 season with a difficult loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. Here are some eye-opening postgame quotes.
While it was great to have LA Kings hockey back on Thursday night, the end result put a damper on the evening, especially considering Los Angeles should have won that game. After the Wild scored the first goal of the contest, the Kings responded with three goals of their own – one from Jeff Carter, Andreas Athanasiou, and Dustin Brown.
The second period saw the Minnesota Wild on a flurry of power plays, which the LA Kings killed all of them off thanks in large part to Jonathan Quick‘s strong night. But once the game became a two-goal lead, the Minnesota Wild started to dominate the time of possession. Both Anze Kopitar and head coach Todd McLellan spoke with the media following the game.
Here are three important quotes that the team can build on as these two teams are set to face each other again on Saturday night and eight times overall within the first 21 games of the season.
On why Minnesota started to take over the game in the third period
“Pulling back a little bit too much,” Anze Kopitar said. “The desperation kicked him for them and we didn’t play particularly well in our own zone and didn’t make hard enough plays to get pucks out of the zone and into their zone to establish the forecheck, create some of our momentum and it came back to bite us.”
On having to play the Wild again on Saturday
“We haven’t been in this situation before, minus the playoffs, which is a little bit different,” the Kings captain explained. “This one’s gonna sting a little bit. I think we gave it away in the third. I mean, credit to them. They made some good plays, but we should be able to lock that down going into the third. That can’t happen too many more times going forward.”
On the blind drop pass that ultimately led to Kirill Kaprizov‘s game-winning goal
“A lot of times, it works, especially powerplay-wise,” Todd McLellan said. “Obviously, we were ill-advised to make that play at that time, and as a result, they scored their fourth goal. That’s just part of bringing the puck back. I believe in overtime, it’s important to bring the puck back sometimes. But you’ve got to make good, smart plays. I was more disappointed in the third period when we kept bringing pucks back when we didn’t need to. We could have gone north, and we decided to bring it back south, then play east-west in our own zone, and then pull it out of our net. That’s not gonna work.”
As noted, the Kings and Wild will square off at Staples Center on Saturday night with puck drop set for 6 P.M. PT.