On his performance: “It was solid. Obviously, it wasn’t enough to get the win, but what are you going to do? They got two bounces their way in the second, pucks just ended up on their sticks and they scored. It was one of those nights where the bounces didn’t go our way. We just got to rebound from it.”
On LeClaire: “He played well. He’s obviously having a good year. He’s got four shutouts already. He’s improved his game a lot the last couple of years. He did a good job of hitting his spots early and we just couldn’t score on him.”
On Columbus: “They did a good job of making us do things we didn’t want to do. We might have turned the puck over more times than we have the last couple weeks. They did a good job of getting pucks in on our forecheck and creating turnovers, and we didn’t do a good job of responding to it.”
On the streak ending: “Any kind of winning streak, you want to keep it going but we just got to keep plugging along. We can’t dwell on it too much. We have to get ready for San Jose. They are a division team and we have back-to-back with them. I’m not really worried about this game. We just have to learn from it and prepare for San Jose.”
On the attendance: “It was pretty quiet out there, definitely more so than the last couple games. It’s Halloween and a weekday game against Columbus, so not a lot of people want to watch that. But our true fans were out tonight and that’s the most important thing.”
“I thought the difference in the game tonight was their third line was great and ours wasnt. It wasnt Nash or Vyborny or Fedorov or any of their highly skilled players that was the difference tonight. Their grinding line of Malhotra, Chimera and Fritsche was better than the lines we had playinig against them, and that quite simply was the difference in the game.”
“They got a great goaltending performance tonight. We know what that’s about. Jason’s played some games where he’s given us some outstanding performances and their guy gave them one tonight. We had six chances on the 5-on-3 and he was just a big guy in the net. Every once in a while you get a performance like that against you and all you can do is tip your hat.”
“We had lots of great opportunities. We scored the powerplay goal and the 5-on-3 we had a number of chances, then another flurry of chances in third period, and their goaltender stood tall. I’m not disappointed with our performance tonight. We looked at this as an opportunity. We didnt pass with flying colors by any stretch of the imagination but we worked and it wasnt to be tonight. We know we can be better, especially in the neutral zone, and we need to be better from our peop who have the responsibility of grinding it out as well.”
“Well, I think the point was we got to come out together and make sure we take care of our own zone. If you take care of your own zone, you’re going to have the puck in neutral zone and the ability to come up together. It’s always better when you can attack in numbers. You show your maturity when you recongize thats the way its got to be. You’re not going to score on every shift. You got to realize some shifts you got to play well on your own end, some shifts you got to dump it in and some shifts it will open up and the ice will be there for you. We’re still in the facet of our team where our guys are learning that. I Thought we were better in third period when we didnt turn the puck over.”
“I thought from the midway point of the game on we actually started getting a lot more forechecking pressure and had a lot more continuity in our play, but we spotted them three goals and in this league sometimes thats too much to overcome. It certainly was tonight.”
On LaBarbera: “I thought he was fine tonight. It was a situation where their goalie ended up being the best guy in the game, but Jason has been best guy in game for, what, four or five games for us. He didnt play poorly tonight. He played actually I thought quite well. They have some very good offensive players that tax your team. That grinding line was a taxing handful all night.”
“I know our guys are frustrated with the game tonight because they lost their streak, but now we got the opportunity to start a new one again on Friday and thats where we need focus our energies. We’ll take the good things from tonight and start anew.”
The Blue Jackets showed the Kings what a really good team plays like tonight. They were strong. That said, the Kings played well the second half of the game. LeClaire was just too good to let them back in.
Crawford said the difference was the third line of Malhotra, Chimera and Fritsche outplaying Calder, Handzus and Willsie, or any other combination he tried.
The Kings remain tied for second place in the division with Dallas, two points behind San Jose, with back-to-back games against the Sharks coming Friday in San Jose and Saturday in Los Angeles.
Ladislav Nagy, who assisted on Calder’s goal, has six points in the last five games since returning from his benching.
The last home game with worse attendance for the Kings was 9,686 on March 4, 1999, at the Forum.
The announced crowd of 11,491 was the smallest since the Kings began playing in Staples Center in 1999. Notes and quotes from the locker room to come …
Calder got a goal. Kings had a prime opportunity to get back in the game with a 5-on-3 but couldn’t get one through.
Barbs attempt to clear went right to Jason Chimera, who passed it out to Rick Nash for the slap shot. Barbs scrambled back in position to block that shot but Chimera got the rebound and put it in for his second goal of the game. It’s getting gory.
Stat of the first period: 11 giveaways for the Kings, two for the Blue Jackets.
We’ll see what the Kings bring tonight against Columbus. Game is on. It looks like the fans have pulled a trick by not showing up. This place is empty. I’m disappointed in the lack of costumes in the crowd as well. I do see a Santa Clause with a big Kings crown. Bailey is in the spirit. He’s dressed as a pumpkin. I’m going as Kubrick Face. I bow my head a bit but look upward with a crazy expression like the guy in Full Metal Jacket and other Stanley Kubrick movies. OK, I doubt many people get that.
Thornton and Dallman are again scratches.
Lines look like …
at the game for Halloween? That mask is finally going to come in handy for Sully!
The Kings’ streak of winning five of six games began when coach Marc Crawford dusted off forward Brian Willsie from the bench and started playing him regularly. Coincidence? Probably, for the most part. But it’s worth mention. Willsie only got off the bench for one of the first six games as the Kings opened the season 1-5.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Willsie said. “It caught me a little off guard. I felt like I had a good camp and I was excited about this year. It was tough sitting, especially losing the way we were.”
Willsie started to wonder if he was going to be part of the team’s plans this year.
“That kind of creeps in your mind. But I was confident that I’d get my opportunity, and once I got the opportunity the ball was in my court. I knew I had to take it upon myself to stay in the lineup.”
Willsie got his shot Oct. 16 with an assist in the upset of previously undefeated Minnesota and hasn’t left the lineup since. He played a direct role in one of the team’s biggest wins of the season, a 2-1 victory over Dallas last week, flying through the air and reaching around the goalie to score the first goal in spectacular fashion.
“I’ve never had a goal like that,” Willsie said. “I saw a couple pictures of it that turned out cool. It was nice to contribute like that in a close game, and hopefully there’s more coming.”