The holiday break seems to have been beneficial for Quebecer Phillip Danault, who picked up where he left off on Tuesday, much to the delight of the Los Angeles Kings.
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The former Montreal Canadiens forward had a goal and two assists in a 4-2 triumph over the Vegas Golden Knights, extending his one-point streak to five. His performance is one of the reasons the Kings are vying for the top of the Pacific Division: they are three points behind Vegas.
Also, with 27 points in 38 games this season, Danault exudes confidence. Individually and collectively, everything is going smoothly according to him. "Since the start of the year we haven't been the best in defense, but in the last 10 games we've been very good. We play the proper way and it starts there. We are proud to be solid defensively and when we show up in the opposing zone, we have fun, he commented to the site NHL.com. By making the right gestures in defense, we apply more pressure in offensive territory. It sounds weird to say, but that's how it is and it works."
Basically, the key to success is simple, according to the veteran whose line completed by Viktor Arvidsson and Alex Iafallo totaled eight points against the Knights.
“It’s about playing well, being strong winning our battles and moving a lot with speed. It is also a team game with three forwards, two defenders and a goalkeeper, he said. We have to stick to our system and do the right things until the end, regardless of the score.”
It's all on the table
Despite these successes, much remains to be played and head coach Todd McLellan's men will have to be alert in a division that includes clubs like the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vegas with big ambitions. For that, you will have to be reliable behind their blue line.
“We're starting to look like we think we should be. When we talk about identity, a word we hear more often, we understand its meaning and we accept it. I'm not sure that was the case earlier this season. It didn't hurt us on offense, but we are able to stay in the game longer. [Jonathan] Quick gave us a win, as did [Pheonix] Copley, and that helped us a lot. There is a great confidence and it makes a huge difference,” said McLellan.
The California team will visit the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday before reconnecting with their fans two days later when the Philadelphia Flyers come to town.