Kings Room: Team Resilience & Korpisalo’s Play
A common theme throughout the series has been resilience.
On Friday night, the Los Angeles Kings took a 2-1 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers with a 3-2 overtime victory.
It was a second overtime victory for the team. And in all three games, the Kings have trailed at one point and come back to tie things up.
The hometown kid, Trevor Moore scored the game-winner in overtime, the first playoff overtime game-winner of his career.
"It was awesome," said Moore on the goal. "Super fun playing in (this) building, that energy was like nothing else. It was super special."
A common theme throughout the series has been resilience. The Kings have continued to battle, regardless of the score and situation.
"I think we have a lot of confidence no matter what (situation)," said Moore postgame. "The guy next to me (Anze Kopitar) and (Drew Doughty) are incredible leaders and they keep us on the right track all the time no matter what the score is. We're just going to keep chugging along and playing our game."
Another big theme through the first two games was a slow start from the Kings, but they flipped the script Friday and started strong.
"I think we wanted to compete harder," said Moore on the team's start. "Get pucks behind them, go forecheck. And I think we did a lot of those things. Lapses in the game are always going to be there, they're a competitive team too, but I think we did a good job."
The game finished with a lengthy review, creating a lot of suspense in the stadium as fans and players waited to see if the Kings had won.
"To be completely honest with you I had no clue what they were checking for," said Anze Kopitar on the lengthy review. "Because, obviously, I saw the goal and that was certainly not played with a high-stick. So, I didn't know and I guess in my mind the longer it took (the better). Usually, the longer it takes it's inconclusive and the call on the ice was a goal."
It was another stellar performance from Joonas Korpisalo, who stopped 38 of 40 shots against and had 1.89 goals saved above expected.
He's no stranger to good performances in the postseason, but this is the first time he's experienced the playoffs in front of fans adding a new element for him.
"That crowd was electric," said Korpisalo on his first playoff game in front of fans. "We just fed off of it and just seeing the building erupt on the last goal, it was pretty cool. I had never played playoffs in front of a crowd before, so it’s really good, it’s fun. You’ve got to enjoy that."
When Korpisalo was first acquired he mentioned how excited he was to play in meaningful games down the stretch. And how he was looking forward to an opportunity to compete in the postseason again.
Now he has that opportunity and is making the most of it.
"It's awesome," said Korpisalo on playing in the postseason. "You work for the whole season for these games. Like I said, you have to enjoy it when you get there and do your best and get some wins. That was fun today."
Korpisalo's been excellent so far and is really finding a groove right now.
"I feel okay, I just go game by game," said Korpisalo of his play. "I'm just trying to do my best, I feel pretty good."
The importance of special teams has been discussed ad nauseum before and during this series. And it proved to be decisive once again in Game Three.
The Kings were able to get power-play goals at important times. Tying and winning the game on the man advantage.
Timely power-play goals have been a talking point for Todd McLellan all season and that's continued into this series.
"Well, a lot has been made and rightfully so, about Edmonton’s power play," said McLellan on timely goals from the power play. "They’re dangerous, you’re not going to shut them down and for us to play as close to even as possible in special-teams situations gives us the best chance at success. We’re trying our best to do that, whether we’re scoring or preventing, and take our chances 5-on-5. We’re only three games, a lot of hockey left and we’ve got a lot of work to do."
McLellan also touched on the resilience of the team and their ability to come back time and time again in this series.
"There’s no secret, there’s not a magic potion, we don’t want to be rallying from behind, but a lot of character in the room," said McLellan. "The guys have a pretty good belief system and we understand that every minute is important. We’ve got to use every second that the game gives us to try and beat a very good club."
After scoring the game-winner in Game One, Alex Iafallo had another big performance in Game Three.
He opened the scoring late in the first period and drew the penalty which led to the eventual game-winner. Iafallo's an underappreciated player on this Kings team by a lot of fans and media. But internally, there is plenty of appreciation for him.
And he thrives in the playoff environment.
"Every team has unsung heroes that probably don't get the recognition they need," said McLellan on Iafallo. "Especially outside of a locker room. But if you walked in there and you sat everybody down and told them to pick a player or two that you want in night after night in any situation. He'd be that guy."