FINAL – Kings 1, Wild 2 – Kopitar, McLellan

The Los Angeles Kings lost a hard-fought 2-1 decision to Minnesota to begin a five-game roadtrip.

Forward Anze Kopitar scored his side’s only goal on the night, a late scorer to bring the Kings within one. Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 18 saves on 20 shots in the loss.

After a scoreless opening period, the Wild got on the board just 13 seconds from the start of the second period to take a 1-0 lead. Minnesota forward Kirill Kaprizov made space for his teammate in the right circle and the right-handed center fired a shot past Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley on the blocker side for his eighth goal of the season.

After a third period that saw the Kings push for offense but come away empty-handed, Minnesota doubled their lead with just under five minutes left in regulation. Against the tide of play, forward Ryan Hartman won the offensive zone with possession, was trailed on the forehand and shot Copley for his second goal of the night.

The Kings got the shutout in under 30 seconds to play against Kopitar, who cut the deficit to a single goal late in the game. Defender Sean Durzi’s shot from the right circle hit the post and deflected into the crease and Kopitar slammed into the net for his 19th goal of the season. Durzi and forward Adrian Kempe had the assists on the play, as Kempe extended his point streak to six games.

Listen to Kopitar and Head Coach Todd McLellan after tonight’s game.

Anze Kopitar
On his general thoughts on tonight’s game
I mean, I think we played a good game, solid in all three areas, but maybe a bit of bad luck, not having any rebounds. They played a close game in their d-area so you have to give him credit, but maybe we just passed up a few shooting opportunities, but it’s going to happen. There are a lot of positives we can take from this one and build into the next one.

On if he liked the reaction of the group after the first goal against
Yeah, you know, like I said, we had a good time in the o-zone, we just couldn’t get it to go away. The goalkeeper played well and, like I said, give him his due credit.

On the impact of mixing lines on the game for a player
I mean, he’s just trying to find something to maybe score a goal, but unfortunately tonight it didn’t work out.

On how the mindset changes when chances come, but goals don’t
Try to simplify, don’t try to be too cute, get a lot of stuff out to the net. The goal we scored was maybe a foot from the goal line where I got it. Sometimes when things aren’t right, just try to make it happen and create something out of a hustle.

Todd McLellan
By getting the tight, low-scoring game he expected this morning
Yes, we got what we expected. You know, we leave here without any points, but I think we had a very good game. We played hard, we created several chances, I’m sure their goalie was probably the first star. We just have to find a way to convert and some nights it just doesn’t go your way. I didn’t think we had a lot of passengers, we had everyone engaged in the game, so we’ll write it down, we’ll move on and try to recover for the next one

On the team finding a spark late in the first half, in the second
We did, I think we got some energy from the offside call. After that, the penalty kill did its job, and then we went for some energy. Unfortunately we didn’t have the first one and they are a tough team to play against when they are up front, it reminds me a lot of our team.

On the Kings sometimes being too cute in the game offensively
I think especially to start the third, there was a phase of about 10 minutes where we tried to get it through five guys. It worked early in the game when we went to the pads and we were able to find some rebounds and take our chances that way and we probably lost seven to 10 minutes into the third. When we figured it out again, it started going our way, but not enough.

On mixing lines in the third and what he was looking for in that situation
Well, we’re in an interesting situation right now as a team, we have four lines that can score or a huge number of players on those lines that can score. Some guys were creating chances, some weren’t, so we were looking for the best offensive combinations we could find. Our team at the moment is deep, it’s not built in the traditional way because you have wingers who score on the third or fourth line and we try to find opportunities for them to leave their mark on the game.

Remarks –
– Anze Kopitar scored his 19th goal of the season to extend his scoring streak to three games. Kopitar has scored seven goals in his last nine games overall.
– Adrian Kempe had an assist to extend his points streak in a sixth game, with 11 points (8-3-11) in total during that span. Kempe’s current streak matches his career streak from Oct. 31, 2021 to Nov. 11, 2021 (6GP, 4-3-7).
– Sean Durzi collected an assist to extend his points streak to four games (0-4-4). With his help, Durzi eclipsed the 30-point mark for the first time in his career.
– Defenseman Drew Doughty led the Kings in time on the ice (26:09), while Kopitar led all forwards (20:53).
– Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 18 saves on 20 shots against, as he lost in regulation for just the fourth time in 24 appearances with the Kings this season.

The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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