The Los Angeles Kings' second line, centered by Phil Danault, has struggled for offense recently. But in their 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres Monday, the offense was back.
Danault and linemate Viktor Arvidsson combined for six points Monday, a needed big game from both players. The points came off a few lucky bounces, but the players won't be complaining.
Arvidsson's goal came after Danault's dump-in deflected off a stanchion between Craig Anderson's leg. And with Anderson searching for the puck Arvidsson was able to poke the puck home.
Arvidsson on his goal:
Good bounce for us, finally. I think our line has worked hard for those kind of bounces and it's nice to get on the board for sure.
On being rewarded for the defensive effort they've put in recently:
Yeah, obviously we've been taking a lot of defensive responsibility and a lot of d-zone faceoffs, stuff like that, but we want to contribute to and if we can do that it's great. And today's that kind of day where we worked really hard and got some bounces.
On Trevor Moore returning from injury giving his line a jolt:
Yeah, we know each other so well after these few years together. It's great and he's a great player. We need him on our line and on our team so, he's a huge factor to our success.
On satisfaction with the offense over the last two games:
Yeah, obviously it's nice to see a lot of goals on the board. But I think we're working really hard defensively to make it hard on the other team and they get frustrated and maybe take chances to try to create offense out of nothing and we strike. We did it on the PK today with Juice (Adrian Kempe) and then we got the two power-play goals. So, it was good.
On what flipped after Kempe's goal:
I don't know, I think our first period was good. I think we came out of the gates really hard and played really well. And after the first, in the second I think we didn't play as quick and as fast as we can. Kind of sloppy passing, so, that hurt us a little bit. And then we get that goal a huge momentum goal and get the second one on the power play. We kind of came from nowhere there in the second but somehow we figured it out and just kept going.
Despite a lack of offense, Todd McLellan has continued to praise Danault's game recently and he was rewarded on Monday with three points. The old cliché is that sometimes you need a goal to come off your ass when you're struggling to score.
Well, Danault took a different angle on this and got an assist off a whiffed shot to re-ignite his offense.
Danault on his first assist
Yeah, it was totally on purpose. No, good bounce I guess, we were working hard and got rewarded, so, good bounce.
On if his line earned a few lucky bounces with their hard work recently
Yeah, I think we played a solid 60 minutes too. We were better as the game was going and so, yeah it's good to get a lucky bounce. We're all good players too, so we can make plays but obviously, those bounces are welcomed.
On Kempe's current hot streak
Yeah, obviously he's on fire. I touched his stick a little bit, trying to get some of that. It's good, we need that from him and he's stepping up big time so it's good to see that.
On if two goals against is more exciting than 11 goals for over the last two games
Yeah, big time. I think it's even more exciting for us. Kings hockey, that's how you win, that's how you make it to the playoffs and that's how you need to play in the playoffs as well. So, we're just growing our game to get ready for the end.
Despite the 5-2 score, McLellan didn't think his team was at their best tonight. And he thought they got away with a lot of "stuff" on Monday night.
McLellan on the performance over the last two games
First of all, two wins. Goals scored is great, few given up was fine. We're happy to put the points in the bank, but I thought the two games were opposite of each other really when it came to details. We got away with a lot of stuff tonight. I know we're supposed to appreciate and enjoy wins, but I wasn't overly impressed with our team tonight. I thought I did things we shouldn't be doing. Three offensive zone penalties, one late in the game to give them a chance to get back in. Turnover after turnover. So, rarely do I come in and over-critique a win, but tonight's tonight.
On Kempe's goal being a turning point for the team's attention to detail
I thought we actually played an okay first period, it was kind of a safe period for both teams. I didn't think the first ten minutes of the second were anywhere near where we have to play. Whether it was breakouts, board work, faceoffs, we were good in the faceoff circle in the first period, we weren't real good in the second. And I thought we played a lot of one-on-one hockey, which we typically don't. You have to give them credit, they're a hard team to play against. They really play forward a lot, they pinch all over the rink and it takes a little while to figure it out when you haven't played them a lot. But, after Kempe scored the shorty, we decided to forecheck a few times and created some turnovers which helped. And fortunately, we got the lead.
On the importance of Arthur Kaliyev getting on the board after returning from injury
(It's) real important. Often Arty, Trev(or Moore), when Gabe (Vilardi) comes back. That first game's usually a pretty good one and then it starts to settle in and responsibilities, read, and react. It's happening a lot faster now than when Trevor and Arty left and they've got to catch up in those areas. So, goals for Arty might make him feel good, but there's other things he's done that should make him feel good as well.