Kings after deadline: Notes and quotes from a 1-0 loss to San Jose
Notes, quotes and stats from the Kings' 1-0 loss to San Jose on 1/1/11. As always, thanks to media relations guru Jeremy Zager, his crack staff and his Grandma Schwartz, who loves to see Jeremy's name in print and online.
Kings Coach Terry Murray:
"It was a good game. That was a solid effort by both teams. Both teams have been playing a lot, they’re coming off three in four and that’s been five in seven for us. That was intense, that was compete, and there were lots of good plays happening."
Murray on whether winning short-handed faceoffs was the key to killing a five-on-three San Jose power play in the first period:
"Winning faceoffs is a key on your special teams. Anytime you can get into the 60% in faceoff wins on your special teams, you’re giving yourself a pretty good opportunity to get the job done."
Murray in regard to killing the Sharks' five-on-three advantage:
"We won some pucks, we had opportunities to clear a couple and we didn’t quite get it out. The three guys, the two D and the forward, did a good job reading. There was a lot of intensity. We called a time out so we could stick with the same two defenseman and they came through for us."
About calling time out during the penalty kill: "We wanted to stay with [Matt] Greene and [Rob] Scuderi. They are the two veteran guys who have big bodies and can block a lot of shots. About halfway through the penalty kill, they did a great job. We were able to switch up [Michal] Handzus and [Anze] Kopitar but the two defenseman we wanted to stay with it."
Team captain Dustin Brown:
"We had our chances. . . . The effort was there and good D-play. They had one goal, I think on the three-on-three and that’s what games are going to be like now. The second half of the year every game is going to be tight checking so it’s about the little decisions we make and we just have to build on that. It’s not the result we wanted that’s for sure, but we outplayed them, I thought.”
"The second half of the year everyone’s playing for points and it’s the new year and we’re right there in the pack. There’s going to be a lot of games like that, we need to find a way to play that way and score some goals at the same time.”
Brown on Sharks goalie Antti Niemi:
"I think he was pretty solid. I think their D did a really good job letting him see the puck, too. We had to get more bodies around the net and tonight we had good scoring chances and he made a lot of good saves, people jamming and people going to the net. We had a lot of chances from the point where he just saw the puck and made saves so we got to get more guys around the net."
Kings center Anze Kopitar on the game:
"Offensive zone attack isn’t going to do us any good if they win the game so we just have to come back and figure things out and go at it on Monday."
Kopitar on the defense: "I think we had a lot of offensive zone time, we just couldn’t bury our chances. I had a few chances, Brownie had a few chances, but its one of those games where [Niemi] was on and seeing most of the puck. Maybe we didn’t have as much of a net presence as we wanted to, but we have to get back to the good things that make us successful, scoring goals and at the same time being good on D."
San Jose Coach Todd McLellan on the game:
"To keep that team off the scoreboard was a pretty good accomplishment on our behalf. Halfway through the night we weren’t happy with our game, but we picked it up in the third, we started to get engaged a little more physically, win a few more battles and found a way to get one.
"There was a shift in the second when Scotty [Scott Nichol] and Jammer [Joe Thornton] and Patty [Patrick Marleau] ended up out on the ice together. They turned the momentum a little bit with a physical shift and we started to play in their end a little bit more. I thought that was the turning point that allowed us to score."
On Niemi's performance: "The goalie was tremendous. He made some very good saves, especially the first half of the game. He’s been in some very pressure-type situations in his young career, and I thought he looked very comfortable in the net tonight. Our guys realized that halfway through the night and took advantage of it."
Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi on the five-on-three power play:
"It’s definitely a momentum for the other team when they kill off a five-on-three for a full two minutes. I thought as far as the game went, Niemi played a really good game, our defense played a really good game, as far as boxing out and not giving them the second and third opportunities to score the goals in the paint. So credit to our defense when we weren’t playing very well for the first half of the game.”
Setoguchi on Niemi: "He’s played great. In Chicago he played really well. He’s a big goalie and he battles for every puck . . . he held us in the game. I think we had seven or eight shots a period and a half into the game so without that we couldn’t have gotten the boost that we needed in order to get the win."
San Jose defenseman Doug Murray on the tight race in the West:
"It's time to make a push right now. These points are huge and they just get harder and longer as the season goes on."
More Murray: "We need to play a lot better than we did tonight. I don’t know how many shots we had after two periods but that’s not good enough for our team and our talent level . . . we still need to find our game, I think. We have to get going and playing better than we are."
* Handzus played in his 800th NHL game tonight.
* The Kings out-hit San Jose, 40-31, tonight.
* Kyle Clifford had seven hits (61 on the season)
* Dustin Brown had eight hits (135 on the season)
* The Kings are 8-3-1 on New Years Day (5-3-1 at home).
* The Kings (13-4-1) have 27 points at home, tied for the most in club history after 18 home games (five other clubs also had 27 points, most recent 1992-93).
* Jack Johnson’s career high six-game point streak was snapped (2-5=7).
* The Kings are 19-3-0 when allowing two-or-fewer goals.
The Kings are scheduled to practice Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.
Photo: Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick keeps his eye on the puck as defenseman Matt Greene topples into the crease after trying to check San Jose's Joe Thornton (not pictured). Credit: Gus Ruelas / Associated Press