After a three-game losing streak, the Los Angeles Kings are back in the win column after shutting out the Vancouver Canucks 3-0.
The Kings needed this win with the Seattle Kraken closing the gap in third place.
The game started slow but picked up halfway through the second period after a fight between Sean Durzi and Sheldon Dries and then another fight between Adrian Kempe and J.T. Miller.
"Yeah, for sure, it changed the momentum and brought us some energy," said Danault of the fights. "It was kind of flat in the beginning, but yeah, it was huge."
The game had a playoff style feel to it and after a few tough performances from the Kings, that is the kind of game they needed to get back on track.
"Yeah, absolutely, we knew the last few games were a little tougher," said Danault on this being a good game to build momentum heading into the postseason. "Obviously a big defensive game for us, and scored some goals, so yeah. That's the way we have to play."
Danault's line, particularly Danault and Moore, have struggled to produce recently. It's been a contributing factor to the Kings' offensive downswing in the last few weeks. But Danault and Moore combined to set up Vladislav Gavrikov's goal in the second. Getting those two back on the board.
"Yeah, it's been a little tough all year to get some momentum," said Danault of he and Moore getting back on the scoresheet. "Morresy was hurt for one quarter, half the year, so it's tough to come back from that and get our pace back. And get the playoff pace as well. We're getting there, we're almost there. One more game, so just keep the momentum going on our line. And as a team as well."
Last time out was the first rough performance of Joonas Korpisalo's Kings career. He was pulled early in the second period after surrendering five goals in just over 20 minutes of play.
A big thing with goalie's is the ability to shake off bad performances and Korpisalo did exactly that. Responding with a bounce back shutout Monday night.
"As long as we win, I'm happy," said Korpisalo of the bounce back performance. "I felt pretty good, obviously, the previous game didn't go as good as everyone wanted. But you know, it's just a bounce back for the whole team."
Getting Mikey Anderson back was a big boost for the Kings. And other than Drew Doughty, I doubt anyone appreciates the return of Anderson more than the goalies.
"It's huge, he's a huge part of our team," said Korpisalo of Anderson's return. "You can see how smart he is there, making great plays and making it tough on them. So, really happy to have him back."
Even in net, Korpisalo could feel the difference those two second period fights had on the team.
"100%, Durz and Juice got us going there," said Korpisalo of the fights. "The game before that was pretty even, but I think after that we took off and we were the better team after so it got us some energy."
It seems fitting that in a game where the Kings' top shutdown defensemen returns to the lineup that the Kings pitch a shutout. And Todd McLellan acknowledge Anderson's impact postgame.
"Well (Anderson) had a big part in (the shutout)," said McLellan of Anderson's impact on the game. "Obviously, everything gets slotted back to where it should be. He's a hell of a player. He defends so well, cleans up a lot of mistakes from teammates. And brings a physical edge. So, he had a big, big part of it. But the rest of the group played pretty well defensively as well."
The players in the room felt the impact of Durzi and Kempe's fight. But for a coach, seeing your 38 goal scorer drop the gloves brings a different feeling.
"Well it's not something you want to see happen heading into the playoffs," said McLellan of Kempe's fight. "But, Adrian's pretty competitive. And that was a pretty competitive moment, competitive situation. He handled himself well against a very rugged player as well. So, everyone came out clean and we're fine."
Arthur Kaliyev opened the scoring for the Kings Monday. And while it wasn't the goal you think of when you hear "Kaliyev goal." It was a scrappy one, but one that shows off that "nose for the net" all good goalscorers have.
"Not a lot of players stand over that and keep swinging away," said McLellan on Kaliyev's goal. "He had one the other night, I don't know who we were playing (Vancouver away), where he almost batted it out of the air. Certain individuals have the knack for that, others could be looking at an empty net and be missing it over and over again, unfortunately. Arthur has that knack of finding a bouncing puck and being able to bat it in and it's good for him, he's got some confidence back."
A few weeks ago McLellan mentioned the importance of young players bringing energy to the table at this time of the year. And while Kaliyev's struggled over the last few months since returning from injury. But he's starting to bring that energy to the lineup and some production too.
"(It's) huge, you know he went through a tough time with his injury," said McLellan on Kaliyev stepping up. "And he came back, had trouble getting back into the lineup, through no fault of his own, the team was playing really well. Probably lost a little confidence there, lately he's been getting it back and he's been doing some good things. So, in my opinion, he's expanded his game a little more now, then it was when he first came back. And he's effective."