FINAL – Kings 4, Blue Jackets 1 – Doughty, Copley, McLellan

The LA Kings extended their scoring streak to eight games with a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night at Arena.

The Kings scored a multiple-scoring night from forward Carl Grundstrom (1-1-2), while defender Drew Doughty and forwards Viktor Arvidsson and Anze Kopitar both scored to win. Goaltender Phoenix Copley made 29 saves from 30 shots to earn his 21st win of the season.

After a first half in which neither side broke through, the Kings took a 4-0 lead in the middle verse alone, their second straight game with four second-half goals.

The Kings scored twice in under three minutes to open a scoreless game. First, Doughty guided his man in the right place, dancing his way into the slot and finally burying his own rebound with a great individual performance for his second goal in as many games. Barely three minutes later, Kopitar made it 2-0 when he scored his 26th goal of the season at the end of a tricky pass between striker Quinton Byfield’s legs.

A span of 72 seconds doubled the Kings’ lead to four goals, the lead at the second break.

The second row combined a tic-tac-toe passing game to extend the lead to three goals as Arvidsson buried a one-timer from a cross-slot feed from striker Trevor Moore for his 19th goal of the season. Grundstrom made it 4-0 just over a minute later after producing a stellar individual performance from below the goal line and along the cushions, which he followed up with a top-glove shot from the right circle for his eighth goal of the season .

Columbus sunk the only goal of the third period less than five minutes after the last frame to put us at the 4-1 final score. After a hard rebound off the ties, the puck stepped onto forward Kirill Marchenko’s stick and he smacked Copley off the tops of the circles with a wrist shot for the shutout bid.

Hear from Doughty, Copley and head coach Todd McLellan after today’s win.

Drew Doughty

Phoenix Copley
Which he thinks is most responsible for the 7-0-1 in the last eight games
I think we played good defence, good team defence. We kind of lock teams up, keep them out and frustrate them. I think that’s kind of the basis of how we win, frustrate teams, and then we get our looks and we have guys who can score. I think that was a big role, team defense.

On the squad, keeping shots to the outside makes his work at the net easier
I think it kind of simplifies it for us. We know we have to make the first save and take care of the rebounds. These guys do a good job of tidying up and keeping things on the outside. It definitely simplifies our work.

At the comfort level to achieve four support goals in the second period
I will never complain about a goal like that. In the first we looked very good, it just didn’t go in and in the second they started to go in. I thought it was a pretty complete game for us and in the second we were rewarded.

Todd McLellan
On the team’s defense throughout the eight-game points streak
Well, going back to our numbers, I don’t even know what they are anymore, 2-2-2-2-1-2-1, something like that. It’s hard to keep teams consistent on two goals conceded or less and we’ve been able to do that for a while. It means you put in a great goalkeeping performance, the penalty is likely to work its magic, and four lines and three pairs of defenders work hard to make things right. I look at the goal we gave up tonight, we did everything we wanted or needed to do and it went from the referee’s foot into the slot and they score. These will be built into games or series and you must be able to overcome them, but only a full commitment to what we are doing.

About closing out the season against the Eastern Conference and fighting to the end
As for the East, we’re done and the best part is that we don’t have to go that route anymore, it can be exhausting. For us, the race to the end is just the next game, tomorrow’s practice session. We don’t have to worry about Vancouver until then, but tomorrow’s practice will be important. Whether we skate a lot or just look at some stuff on the video and then quickly clean our legs, I don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but one day at a time.

On the goal from Drew Doughty, but also on his defensive play to get a 2v1 going early
Maybe more important. I think maybe the most important two minutes were the first two minutes where you start the game with the penalty after 15 seconds. Drew, yeah he had a nice goal and he jumped in the rush today and those were really good things for him. We’re happy for him, but he keeps interrupting those moments and he’s been out there for a lot of those penalties. It was probably the most important two minutes of the game for us to get back on our feet and move on.

Whether adjustments have been made between the first and second periods tonight
I don’t know if there is a big adjustment from the first to the second. Tarasov, their goalkeeper, made some really good saves in the first period. If some of them had jumped in, we probably wouldn’t be answering that question. We didn’t have to adjust much, but we had to focus and stick to one game plan. In the second it paid off and then in the third we checked our way to victory.

At Trevor Moore, who looks more like himself on his second return from injury
Yes, I think he looks more like earlier in the year and last year at this stage than he did in the first. The goal he scored the other day was certainly a relief, we’ve talked about that before, but his energy with that line is right now. It didn’t fit the first time, but now it doesn’t.

Remarks –
– Carl Grundstrom (1-1-2) recorded his sixth career multi-point game and second of the season (2-0-2 on Oct. 31 at STL). With his sixth assist, Grundstrom equaled his career-high assist season from 2021-22 (9-6-15).
– Drew Doughty scored his fifth goal of the season and his second in as many games. It’s the first time this season that Doughty has scored in consecutive games.
– Anze Kopitar scored his 26th goal this year and 20th of his career against Columbus. Among active NHL skaters, only Patrick Kane (24) and Alex Ovechkin (22) have scored more goals against the Blue Jackets than Kopitar. Kopitar now has five points (1-4-5) in his last four games.
– Viktor Arvidsson (1-0-1) scored his 19th goal of the season, a close tally to match his total from last season.
– Phillip Danault (0-1-1) recorded his 30th assist of the season and became the fourth Kings skater this season to reach 30 assists (Kevin Fiala – 46; Drew Doughty – 38; Anze Kopitar – 37).
– Rasmus Kupari (0-1-1) recorded his ninth assist of the season, setting a new career high in a season. Kupari now sits one point short of reaching his points high (13) in the 2021-22 season.
– With another assist tonight, Quinton Byfield has now had a point in seven of his last eight games (1-6-7).
– Alex Edler ran in his 1,023. NHL games of his career and passed Fredrik Olausson (1,022) for sole possession of fifth on the games played list among Swedish-born defensemen in NHL history.
– The Kings scored four second-half goals in consecutive games (March 14 vs. NYI) for the fourth time in franchise history: (Jan. 2, 1991 vs. EDM and Jan. 4, 1992 vs. PHI; Dec. 6, 1986 vs .CHI and 9 Dec 1986 at NYI, 5 Feb 1985 vs. NYR and 7 Feb 1985 at PHI).
– The win marked the Kings’ 40th win of the season and made the 1990-91 Kings the third fastest team to reach 40 wins in a single season in franchise history (69 GP).

The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.

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