Daily News Kings regain some of their early-season swagger

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Not only has some of the Kings’ early-season swagger returned, it’s begun to transfer to home ice, where they’ll play their next four games, including Tuesday’s tilt with the conference-leading Vancouver Canucks.

The Kings beat the Canucks 5-1 in Vancouver last Thursday, and then kickstarted their homestand with a victory over the New Jersey Devils by the same score. They’ve won four of five games at Crypto.com Arena under Interim Coach Jim Hiller.

“That was our challenge to our team, we had to bring the road game home,” Hiller said.

That’s been a season-long challenge, as the Kings won their first 11 away games –– a streak that ran through Dec. 7 –– but didn’t reach home victory No. 12 until Sunday. Fittingly, that win was powered by Phil Danault’s hat trick, his first three goals at home all season.

“It must be the ice,” Danault joked after the match.

Danault’s linemate Kevin Fiala has been the hottest King with consecutive three-point performances and 12 points in his past seven contests. Trevor Moore has five points in his past four games, as does Anze Kopitar during his four-game scoring streak. Drew Doughty has compiled 11 points in his last nine outings. In parts of four seasons, Quinton Byfield never crossed the 20-minute threshold under Todd McLellan, but Hiller has played him over 20 minutes in four of five contests and the Kings won three of those four matches.

They’ll all get better acquainted with Vancouver in the second of four meetings in a condensed stretch. The Canucks had been cold with their loss to the Kings representing their sixth in seven opportunities. They got back on track with a 2-1 win over the Ducks on Sunday, when Quinn Hughes set up an early Nils Hoglander goal and initiated the offensive sequence that led to Connor Garland’s game-winner.

Hughes leads all NHL defenseman in scoring while J.T. Miller ranks sixth in points league-wide. Elias Pettersson continues to be an offensive conduit, leading to the eight-year, $92.8 million contract extension he signed last week. Brock Boeser scored their only goal against the Kings on Thursday, his 15th in 17 games of the rivalry. The only team against which he has scored more goals is the Edmonton Oilers, and it has taken him 13 more clashes to do so.

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