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Kings Locker Room: Gavrikov’s First Game, Vilardi on 20 Goals & McLellan

Hear from Vilardi, Gavrikov and Todd McLellan postgame.



In a sloppy, turgid affair the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, in their first game since trading legendary goalie Jonathan Quick.

It was also Vladislav Gavrikov's first game in a Kings jersey, and the last game before Friday's trade deadline.

Gabe Vilardi scored his third goal in his last four games, giving him 20 on the year, and added a primary assist.

Hear from Vilardi, Gavrikov and Todd McLellan postgame.

Gavrikov on his first game as a King:

It was kind of weird at the start because I haven't played for a while. But after a few shifts I just kept going and that was great, a great feeling. Obviously, a warm welcome from the guys and the fans so it was perfect.

On playing with Sean Walker:

Perfect, he's the perfect d-partner. As everyone here, great person a great group of guys. Glad to have him and he helped me out throughout the game.

On how much pride he takes in the defensive side of the game:

Well, first of all you have to defend the net, so that was my point, I've done what I've done. So, it's not a something huge. But yeah, try to help my partner out.

On getting back into the swing of things after sitting for a few weeks before the trade:

Well, it's going to be better for sure in the next few games. Obviously, because the flow is a little different compared to practice. It's going to come for sure. I'm not even worried about it.

On the intensity of dropping into a playoff race:

That's a huge opportunity, I mean, for me personally and for the team. We've got to stick together, every point matters right now.

On having his family on the glass during warmups:

That's so special from me. It's huge support from them I'm so appreciative that they could come and support me. So yeah, my wife and my kid are just everything for me and I'm glad they could see the first game. 


Vilardi on the importance of winning the first game after a road trip:

Yeah, like I said to Carrlyn on the bench, we expect to be a playoff team. Good win at home, so yeah, like you said, we've got a big stretch coming up, hopefully, we can get a lot of points.

On what he liked from his line off the back of two points:

I think we just buried out chances, we can create more still, we're doing the right things. We're forechecking and I think we're playing well in the d-zone which is most important and the offense is going to come. We just have to keep doing the right things and the offense is going to come. Like I said, forechecking and creating little chances down there I guess. Just keep going. 

On the pace of the game:

Yeah, you said that right, we had two penalties there in the first six or seven minutes I think. Not much flow in the first period, a lot of stops, a lot of guys getting kicked out of draws and stuff like that. Kind of ruins the flow. But, in the second and third it really picked up.

On if he feels like he's back to 100% game speed after the injury:

Yeah, I'm getting better I think, there's still a lot of things I want to keep working on. Watching video and that stuff. But it is hard coming back from injury. Especially right now, when it's such a tight playoff race, every point matters. So every game feels like a playoff game realistically. So, it's just putting in good spots, hopefully I can take advantage of my opportunities.

On if hitting the 20 goal mark is special to him:

Yeah, just looking back were I was last year, I think I worked hard this summer and I mean, I've got big goals so I just want to keep going. Obviously, the team winning here is most important.

On if he would have expected himself to hit 20 goals heading into the season:

Yeah, I believe in myself, so yeah. But I think I can do more and obviously I want to keep producing and helping this team. Even if it's not producing, help this team win.


McLellan on Gavrikov's first game:

Well it's interesting, he's an energetic outgoing guys. So, I think he fit our group right away. Right off the bat, he's not sitting back and he's not shy so he had that going for him. He had some stuff thrown at him today that he picked up in one day, which is really good and then he applied it on the ice. So, I thought he had a really good night for us. All things considered, his travel, his emotional level, his family relocating, his new teammates, new coaches, a pretty darn good night for him.

On the confidence to put Gavrikov out in the final 90 seconds while protecting the lead:

Yeah, and Trent Yawney runs that, but that's what he's here for. That's what he does, is to play those minutes, heavy shutdown minutes in and around the net. Clearing the crease out, play below the goal line, strength power, good stick and we needed that.

On which of the listed strengths of Gavrikov's game stand out:

Well, I think he's a powerful man, he's a bull. When he leans on you he's heavy, he's hard. You've got to use a lot of energy up and expend a lot of energy just to get away from him. This is what I've seen so far and, obviously, in some video. The quicker lighter defensemen, if you role off, then you've got to get away from them, use your legs. He leans on you and we don't have as much of that as we like, now we do.

On if he would have expected 20 goals out of Vilardi heading into the season:

He's had the skill level to do it. His confidence has varied, it's gone up and done since he's been here, he's fought the injuries. We thought if we could get a healthy year out of him, we believed he could score. I don't know if I would have put the number at 20, just based on his body of work. But, projection a long time ago would have him doing what he's doing now.

On if he wants any additions before the trade deadline Friday:

No, Rob (Blake) and his staff, pro scouts, it's unreal the amount of work they've done. And the time they've spent on researching and if there's something they feel needs to be done, I'm sure they'll confide in us a little bit, but we have our team. And if it does get better tomorrow, great, if it doesn't, we have what we need.

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