Daily News Phillip Danault’s hat trick carries Kings past Devils


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
Jul 28, 2004
LOS ANGELES — Coming off their best performance of the season, a 5-1 road victory over the Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks, the Kings opened a five-game homestand on Sunday in search of consistency.

For the second game in a row, they were excellent.

A hat-trick from Phillip Danault plus a goal by Alex Lafferriere and power-play conversion courtesy of Kevin Fialia lifted the Kings to back-to-back 5-1 wins, this time over the New Jersey Devils at Crypto.com Arena.

The Devils scored first, taking advantage of a crazy carrom off the glass to snatch the lead 15 seconds after the puck dropped.

An attempted clearance from Quinton Byfield kicked nearly 90 degrees to the left, landing in front of Nico Hirschier. The Devils center dished it forward a few feet to Timo Meier, who swept in a backhand above Cam Talbot’s right shoulder for a 1-0 lead.

That was as good as it got for the Devils (30-27-4, 64 points) over the remaining 59 minutes and 45 seconds.

Talbot, in his third straight start, saved the next 30 shots he faced to improve to 18-14-5 on the season.

The Kings caught a break to tie the game when Anze Kopitar skated into a referee in the New Jersey zone and headed to the bench as play shifted to the opposite side of the rink.

Replacing the Kings captain on the ice, Phillip Danault moved alone toward the visitor’s blue line, where he received a terrific pass by Fiala from deep in the defensive zone.

Danault charged toward the Devils goaltender, Nico Daws, unleashing a wrist shot at 7:56.

The game-winning goal belonged to Chatham, N.J., native Alex Laferriere, who put his favorite team growing up behind at 14:49 of the opening period with help from Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The big-bodied Dubois regained the puck twice against the boards before his 14th assist set up Laferriere’s ninth goal of the season, a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that snuck past Daws.

The matinee marked the second career appearance against the Devils for Laferriere, drafted 83rd overall by the Kings in 2020, following the King’s 2-1 road win at the Prudential Center in Newark on Feb. 15.

The Kings pushed their advantage to 4-1 in quick succession prior to the second intermission.

In the 12th minute Trevor Moore intercepted a pass in the defensive zone, booked up the center of the ice and got sandwiched by a pair of Devils. Kings defenseman Matt Roy trailed the play and put the puck on his stick before feeding it to Danault, who tucked it in at the far post.

Six seconds later, the Kings went on the power-play and Fiala’s 19th goal (his sixth in seven games) was facilitated by the dynamic duo of Kopitar and Drew Doughty.

Working near the Devils net, Kopitar fed Fiala in the left circle and the forward zipped a perfect wrist shot into the upper corner at 12:57.

After combining twice in Vancouver, the Fiala finish marked the 300th time that the Doughty-Kopitar connection factored in an NHL goal.

The two-time Stanley Cup winners are the third forward-defenseman pairing to hit that milestone. They need six to tie Boston’s Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr. Another 50 would equal Edmonton’s Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.

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Danault’s third goal came on yet another length-of-the-ice play when his 15th of the season came with an empty-net finish at 17:47.

Assisting on the play, Fiala’s second straight three-point effort in a row gave him eight points in his last three appearances.

The result lifted the Kings (31-19-10, 72 points) to two games above .500 at home for the first time this season as a redemption-seeking Vancouver squad visits Tuesday.

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