FINAL – Kings 5, Devils 1 – Danault, Fiala, Talbot, Hiller

The LA Kings began a season-long, five-game homestand with a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday afternoon at Arena.

Just 15 seconds into today’s game, New Jersey opened the scoring off a bad bounce in the defensive zone. Quinton Byfield’s chip up the wall his a stanchion and deflected directly into the slot, where Nico Hischier fed Timo Meier, with the latter beating Kings netminder Cam Talbot with a backhanded shot for his 13th goal of the season and early one-goal lead.

The Kings responded, however, with forward Phillip Danault evening the score just shy of eight minutes into the game. Forward Kevin Fiala exited the defensive zone and fired a stretch pass to Danault at the far blueline, between a pair of New Jersey defenders. Danault carried enough speed to maintain his breakaway and snapped a shot high on the blocker side, past New Jersey netminder Nico Daws, for his 12th goal of the season.

With just over five minutes remaining in the opening period, the Kings took their first lead of the afternoon. Forwards Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Pierre-Luc Dubois put in a good bit of work along the boards, before Dubois fed forward Alex Laferriere on the inside of the right-hand circle, with the New Jersey native burying against his home-state team. Laferriere’s goal was his ninth of the season, putting the Kings ahead 2-1.

The middle stanza saw the Kings add two more goals, taking a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.

First, Danault buried his second of the afternoon off a hustle play from forward Trevor Moore. Moore picked off a pass in his own zone and took it the length of the ice to gain the offensive blue line. From there, defenseman Matt Roy collected the puck and fed it into a dangerous area, with Danault following the play and burying his second goal of the game.

Less than a minute later, Fiala made it 4-1 with his second point of the game. With the Kings skating on the power play, forward Anze Kopitar won a faceoff in the offensive zone to establish control of the puck. Kopitar and Fiala then executed a passing play on the left side, with Kopitar finding Fiala on a return feed for a one-timer, which Fiala buried off the post and in, for his sixth goal and 11th point over his last seven games.

Danault completed his second career hat trick late in the third period, as he picked the empty net from close range, while being hooked from behind, for the 5-1 final score.

Hear from Danault, Fiala, Talbot and Head Coach Jim Hiller following today’s victory.

Phillip Danault
On the importance of stacking two games, back-to-back, with where the standings are

We want to play solid defensively, but we also want to score goals and we’ve been doing that the last two games. They were big games as well, against Vancouver, and we played the right way and we got rewarded, that’s what we’re seeing with our team right now. We’ve just got to do the little details. It’s a little harder, it’s a little more demanding but it pays off.

On the development of Kevin Fiala’s game lately
Yeah, it’s obviously big for us. Kevin’s been playing the right way, both sides of the ice, this has been one of his strengths. He’s getting the reward as well, you take care of defense and the offense comes. I’m not surprised he’s getting rewarded.

On the team’s 11/7 alignment over the last two games and how it impacts the forwards
It’s more ice time, it’s good, we feel good on the ice and we’ve got some young guys that can take it too. Byfield can take some ice time, he’s playing well, Kevin as well, so we can all share it. I think it’s good, gets the offense going, the rhythm as well. It’s good so far, but we can always use another player with energy [if we went back to 12/6].

On the team’s response and message after losing in Calgary, leading to two wins
At that point of the year, you don’t want to lose any games, so we needed a solution. We had an emotional game against Edmonton, so after those kind of games, you can’t afford it. We obviously wanted to win, but we came back in Vancouver and played the way we want, and then we won again tonight.

Kevin Fiala
On translating the team’s play from the roadtrip into the start of the homestand

That was our goal, a good finish to the road trip, to stay on it and continue playing like that. I think we did. I think the last two games especially, we had some steps in the right direction. Just making the other team frustrated, there’s a good feeling in the locker room. Just winning the games and being inside the locker room at intermissions, it’s just a good feeling to win games. We’ve got to hopefully keep that going.

On Phillip Danault’s play and getting rewarded for it tonight
He’s done so many good things the whole season and he deserves it. Today was his day and there was no doubt about it or anything. He’s playing unbelievable for us, 200-foot game and when it’s his turn to score, it’s his turn to score. He’s very good at accepting whatever he does, so it’s awesome.

On the team responding from the early goal against, without panic
There was no panic from the start. It was a bad bounce and we just took a breath and that was it. From that point on, I think we dominated the game. Obviously they had some good chances and Talbs was there to save them and we helped each other out when we do [make] mistakes. PK was unbelievable again, so I think tonight was almost the whole game ours.

On player stepping up with key players out of the lineup
It’s tough to get key players out, but it’s going to happen, it’s a long season. I think, especially the last two games, whoever plays in the lineup knows what to do, there’s roles to be filled and step up a little bit. It’s good for some guys and everybody did an awesome job. We just have to keep going and play with the lineup that we do.

Cam Talbot
On bringing Thursday’s road game back to home ice

We talked about coming home and establishing our game on the road back here. This is a big homestand for us, so I thought we did a heck of a job bringing that game from Vancouver back here, really locking it down defensively and capitalizing on our chances offensively as well.

On seeing a player like Danault, who does so much for the team, get rewarded today
It’s huge. Any time someone gets a hat trick it’s a pretty special night, but he does so many small things for this group that sometimes go unnoticed, but not by the guys in this locker room. Faceoffs, penalty kill, defensively sound and taking care of the rest of the guys on the ice. Sometimes it’s a tough job and one that’s kind of like an unsung hero, so to see him get rewarded tonight it’s obviously very nice.

On having his game back at the level it was early in the season
You don’t forget how to play the position, sometimes it’s just between the ears and you’ve just got to get that confidence back. Once you get a win, it starts to snowball a little bit, the confidence comes and then obviously the guys in front of me have been playing some pretty good hockey as well. So, it’s easy to read off them, everyone’s doing the job out there and we trust each other. It’s nice to be back in there contributing.

Jim Hiller

Notes –
– Phillip Danault (3-0=3) scored his 12th, 13th, and 14th goals of the season — his first three on home ice – to combine for his second career hat trick, his first as a King and the first for the team this year. This was Danault’s second multi-goal and fifth multi-point effort of the season.
– Kevin Fiala (1-2=3) scored his 19th goal and picked up his team-leading 35th and 36th assists of the season, extending his home point streak to a fourth game (3-3=6). With his trio of points, Fiala has now tallied eight points (3-5=8) over his last three games.
– With his pair of assists, Fiala has hit the 35-assist mark for a third consecutive season, joining Mark Streit (2007-08 – 2009-10) and Roman Josi (2x; Last: 2021-22 – 2023-24) as the only Swiss-born skaters in league history to have at least 35 helpers in three straight campaigns. Fiala recorded his team-leading 15th multi-point campaign of the season for his 37th multi-point game since joining Los Angeles in 2022-23, the most among all Kings skaters over that span and five more than his next closest teammate (Anže Kopitar: 32).
– Alex Laferriere (1-0=1) scored his ninth goal of the season in his 59th career game. Laferriere is the 23rd forward in Kings history to score at least nine goals within the first 60 games of their debut season, the first to do so since Austin Wagner (12G) in 2018-19.
– Anže Kopitar (0-1=1) picked up his 33rd assist of the season, extending his point streak to a fourth game (1-4=5) dating back to Feb. 26, 2024. Kopitar’s assist also extends his point streak against the Devils to a fourth game (3-2=5), dating back to Jan. 14, 2023. Kopitar recorded the 300th power-play helper of his career, becoming 40th player in league history to reach the mark, and the first skater in franchise history to do so.
– Pierre-Luc Dubois (0-1=1) picked up his 14th assist of the season, extending his point and assist streak against the Devils to a third game (1-3=4), dating back to April 2, 2023.
– Matt Roy (0-1=1) notched his 15th assist of the season for his 99th career NHL point (22-77=99), bringing him within a single point of becoming the eighth defenseman selected in the 2015 NHL Draft to reach the century mark in his career.
– Drew Doughty (0-1=1) tallied his 24th assist of the season, extending his point and assist streak to a third game (1-4=5). Doughty has now recorded seven points (2-5=7) over his last five games.
Doughty skated in his 575th career home game tonight, tying Hall-of-Famer Leo Boivin for the 50th-most by a defenseman in league history.
– Vladislav Gavrikov (0-1=1) and Trevor Moore (0-2=2) each picked up assists. Moore’s performance marked his ninth multi-point game of the campaign, his second at Arena
– Per NHL PR, Anže Kopitar and Drew Doughty have factored on the same goal for the 300th time in the regular-season, the third-most by a forward-defenseman duo in NHL history. Only the Wayne Gretzky-Paul Coffey (350) and Phil Esposito-Bobby Orr (306) duos have connected on more occasions.
– Cam Talbot stopped 30 of 31 shots faced in his 18th victory of the season, improving his season record to 18-14-5.

The Kings are scheduled to return to practice tomorrow at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo.

Proudly presented by Destination Vancouver.
The Real Pacific Northwest. Go Norther.

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