Line of Fiala, Danault and Moore a trio to rely on for the LA Kings on their playoff push

On the team’s most recent homestand, the Kings saw their underlying numbers drop a bit across the board, despite a prevailing record of 3-1-1. The line of Kevin Fiala, Phillip Danault and Trevor Moore, however, has continued to post excellent numbers together, despite the recent dip from the team perspective.

Over those five games, the 12/24/22 line has actually seen some of those possession figures go up, despite a near-universal drop across the board from others on the squad. That line was over 60 percent in terms of shot attempts and scoring chances controlled, with more than 57 percent of high-danger chances. Outstanding numbers that are right in line with their season-long rates.

Shot Attempts
Full Season – 58.9%
Homestand – 60.8%

Scoring Chances
Full Season – 60.0%
Homestand – 63.6%

High-Danger Chances
Full Season – 62.0%
Homestand – 57.1%

Their production during that time matched the strong underlying numbers.

“They’re a dangerous line,” Head Coach Jim Hiller said. “In the o-zone, they’re a really difficult line to contain. They switch sides really well, all three of them can beat you 1-on-1 and they’re tenacious around the net.”

Danault led the way with four goals, while all three players bagged five points.

In the win over New Jersey, it was Danault’s hat trick that powered the team forward offensively. Fiala also scored in that game, one of three goals he scored over the five games, including the overtime game-winning goal against Ottawa, coming via a terrific individual effort. Moore closed out the homestand with a multi-point performance in the win over New York. When times have been tough, it’s been a line to rely on and help get things back on track. When times have been good, it’s been a line that’s helped to lead the way for a team that’s found its stride.

All in all, they’ve got something good going and they’re all feeling it, all over the ice.

“I think we care defensively, so it brings our offense and we do the little details in all three zones,” Danault said. “It’s playing out and we all do our job, too. We all know what we bring to the line, we’re doing our best right now and it’s working out.”

That’s the thing with that line. The entire prelude here speaks about the offensive contributions that those players have given, because that’s what’s easy to quantify. If you ask any of the three of them, though, it’s never offense via cheating. It’s always offense via defense and that’s a mentality that’s followed the Danault/Moore pairing regardless of who their third member has been.

Whether it’s been Fiala for the bulk of this season or Viktor Arvidsson, the most regular member of that line over the last two seasons, or anyone else who has been temporarily slotted there, it’s a shared mentality. The results have been evident.

“It’s super important, for team success and for personal success,” Moore said. “If you’re trying to reach for offense, it doesn’t typically generate more offense. It’s making the other team turn the puck over and going in transition the other way that creates more chances.”

On the homestand, that trio was on the ice for just one goal against in total and they weren’t out there for one last night either.

That comes from two separate things.

For starters, the Kings are in possession of the puck more often than not when that line is on the ice. Just by the eye test alone, you’ll see extended shifts where those three players are moving the puck around the offensive zone, shooting in volume, getting it back, reloading and starting again. The numbers back that up too, with the Kings controlling more than 60 percent of shot attempts with that line on the ice over the last five games, as shown above.

Where Hiller has also complemented that line is with regards to the way they’ve tracked back defensively.

“It was all three of them, they’ve made a great commitment and they’ve made it easier on our D,” Hiller said. “When you look up as a [defenseman] and you see nothing but the other team, and way back there are your forwards, you’ve got to play it differently. When you see them coming and our forwards are right behind, you’ve got more confidence to be aggressive.”

In looking at the three players individually, all three bring something different to the table.

In Fiala, he’s been the dynamic playmaker the Kings acquired him to be. He’s scoring goals and setting them up at an alarmingly strong rate as of late, but what he’s done in addition to the production is deliver a 200-foot game that we haven’t always seen.

Fiala has a natural element of risk in his game and without it, he wouldn’t be Kevin Fiala. The Kings know they have to give Fiala the rope to be himself and he’s done a great job lately of taking the right risks. He’s pushing on the 70/30 plays, not the 30/70 plays, and it’s paying off. When you combine his offensive gifts with his speed and length that allows him to contribute all over the ice, with and without the puck, there’s one heck of a player in there.

“We needed that from him and he’s definitely buying into that process and he’s got a really good attitude,” Danault said of Fiala. “I think he’s got good skill defensively, he cares a lot and he can deliver offensively, so we’re really proud.”

For Danault himself, he continues to be the kind of player that coaches adore.

You know what you’re going to get from Danault on most nights. There’s not a boxscore out there that can describe Danault’s overall game, but for a player who joined the Kings organization with a career high of 13 goals, he’s now exceeded that total in all three seasons he’s played in LA. Though his 2023-24 season likely won’t reach the 27 goals he buried two seasons prior, last year’s 18 goals are in reach, with Danault at 15 as of today. He’s pulling his weight offensively, but it’s the overall game the Kings value.

“He’s done so many good things the whole season,” Fiala said of Danault. “He’s playing unbelievable for us, a 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, it’s awesome.”

For Moore, there was perhaps no hotter player in Los Angeles over the first three months of the season.

While he hit a bit of a dry spell in January, as the Kings did overall, he broke back onto the scene in Western Canada with goals in two of the three games on that trip and he hasn’t looked back. Moore is one of the team’s best penalty killers and feels like a shorthanded threat each time he’s on the ice. He’s put a lot of work into his shot, but he believes in getting his offense the right way. That shines through in the way he works on the ice.

“Trevor’s so consistent with his work ethic,” Hiller said of Moore. “We talk about tracking back to backcheck and he always leads us that way. He had the great first half as far as goalscoring and he looks to be a little more dangerous [again offensively].”

Over the last 15 years, just four Kings have scored 30 goals – Anze Kopitar (x2), Adrian Kempe (x2), Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. Moore, the California native, could become the fifth member of that club with five over his final 17 games. If he hits it, assume he’ll hit it the right way.

As the Kings conclude this short roadtrip, they’ll need continued, high-level performance from this line, as well as others throughout the group. It certainly hasn’t been a one-line effort under Hiller, with the Head Coach highly complementary of several individuals and lines, including Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty as of late. In having a consistent threat here, though, it provides a stabilizing factor for a team in search of wins and points. Good thing to rely on.

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