Phillip Danault scored in the third period just over five minutes from time, and his goal gave the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday to open the first round of their streak.
A dangerous outing from Mike Smith gave Danault a glorious chance and seconds later Sean Durzi unleashed a slapshot that deflected off the Quebecer’s tackle before netting.
Danault breaks the tie at the end of 3rd place
For the third time in this encounter, the visitors took the lead and this time they managed to assert themselves.
California trio Danault, Trevor Moore and Alex Iaffalo stood out in this duel, scoring three of the Kings’ four goals.
Moore ended the game with three points (1-2) while his two playmates each provided a goal and an assist.
“It’s the playoffs and we all want to take our game to the next level. I think we did it as a trio and as a team. Of course I want to contribute as much as possible in all phases of the game,” said Danault, who played for 22 minutes and 45 seconds.
Connor McDavid, with a great individual maneuver at the end of the first period, as well as Kailer Yamamoto and Leon Draisaitl betrayed Jonathan Quick’s vigilance in defeat.
Danault is one of those charged with keeping a close eye on the Oilers superstar, but he knows it’s everyone’s business.
“[McDavid]is on the ice almost 50% of the time, so that’s part of my mandate, but I’m not the only one,” he aptly pointed out.
The Kings have not won a series since winning the Stanley Cup in the summer of 2014. They’re back on the postseason calendar for the first time in four years.
“I think a big part of that win was staying calm even after they scored two power play goals. It shows our strength of character and I’m proud of our first game,” the Quebec Center said.
The Albertans are the favorites, but that’s been the case for the past two seasons, and both times the Oilers were quickly eliminated.
Smith, 40, has suffered a loss in each of his last six playoff starts, including all six he has as a member of the Oilers.
As for the Kings, they’re guaranteed to be without their best guard Drew Doughty, who recently had wrist surgery, throughout the series.
The Kings were without offensive player Viktor Arvidsson, who left training early on Saturday. He has amassed 49 points (20 goals and 29 assists) in 66 games this season.
Game 2 will be played Wednesday night, still at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Danault’s trio opens the scoring against the Oilers
McDavid end to end to close the gap
Draisaitl leveled the game midway through the second