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Kings Room: Saturday’s Loss ‘A Good Test’ Says Kempe

The puck was bouncing over sticks and players were falling over untouched across the ice.



The Los Angeles Kings played one of the sloppiest games they've had in a long time Saturday. 

Their 2-1 loss against the Nashville Predators wasn't an entertaining game for fans and was frustrating for players.

After five straight wins, in games the Kings largely controlled, a stinker like Saturday's game was bound to happen. Adrian Kempe said games like those are going to happen, but good teams find a way to win those games. 

"Yeah, they're going to come where maybe you don't score as many goals as you want or stuff like that," said Kempe. "But I feel like we defended alright. It was just maybe not the perfect game tonight. And sometimes we have to win those games too, and that's what good teams do. I think we had enough good chances to win tonight. Obviously, it came down to the shootout and we did all we can.

It was a tight game throughout, both teams played a physical game that made it difficult to generate any offense. Because of this, it became more important to play a simple game.

Playing a simple game becomes even more important when the team doesn't have their normal polish and is struggling to connect on routine passes.

"I think just playing simple, today maybe the game wasn't going our way on the power play or five-on-five," said Kempe. "But, I mean, in the second period I thought we played alright. That was kind of the mentality going into the third, just keep doing what we were doing and stay patient and, hopefully, we can go out there and win a game. Unfortunately, just one point tonight but something we can build on. It was a good test tonight and something we can learn from.


Matt Roy

One thing was apparent all night.

The ice conditions were awful.

The puck was bouncing over sticks and players were falling over untouched across the ice. 

Not normal things from NHL players.

"Yeah, ice conditions weren't great," said Matt Roy, "It is what it is, you know, there's no excuses out there so it's just something we need to battle through. And, like I said, we just need to regroup and get ready for the next game."

A major factor in the Kings improved offense this season has been more contributions from the defense. The team has already surpassed last seasons goal total from defensemen in just 67 games.

Three defensemen have already hit career highs in goals. With Roy, Mikey Anderson and Sean Durzi all posting career bests. 

It was Anderson who got on the scoresheet Saturday.

"That's something I've noticed," said Roy. "He (Anderson) just seems more confident, he knows his game defensively and he seems to be jumping up more often offensively and it's showing up there. It's good to have and it's good to have more production."


Todd McLellan:

Early on it was clear the fourth line of Carl Grundstrom, Rasmus Kupari and Zack MacEwen knew their role on the team. They came out fast and physical, causing some issues for the Predators.

"I thought they played fairly direct," said Todd McLellan. "They understood what they were playing on and they played with some pace. They had some really good offensive zone shifts and then they came back and frustrated the other team by catching them from behind and killing plays. So, they did their job tonight.

In a game where the team lacked polish, one player stood out as being very much on their game. Pheonix Copley was solid in net, stopping 29 shots finishing with 2.31 goals saved above expected. Something that's become common since the addition of Joonas Korpisalo.

Having to rotate with another goalie hasn't slowed Copley's game down at all.

"I think he (Copley) has done an excellent job with alternating back and forth," said McLellan. "I think they've both done that. You look at the goals against that we've given up. What, we're two, two, two, one tonight. You consider the role the goaltenders play in that; they've both been excellent. And I thought again tonight that Pheonix was really good."

The easy excuse was there, after five straight a tough game was coming. But McLellan wasn't ready to use any excuses. 

"If I said yes I'd be letting everyone off the hook, including the coaching staff," said McLellan. "But it does happen. This reminded me a lot of the game against Montreal about a week or 10 days ago. We had an emotional win on the road, came back, played in an unemotional type game and just weren't real connected. And you do have those over 82 games, the good news is we found a way to get a point. And we'll take that at this time of the year."


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