Edmonton – “I knew he was good. But quite frankly, he gave us better hockey than I expected in the regular season and was more dominant since the start of the playoffs. Once again this evening, he played a leading role in our victory.”
That quote was given to me by Rob Blake, the Los Angeles Kings general manager, when he left Rogers Place 45 minutes after his team’s 5-4 win after just 72 seconds of overtime.
A victory propels his Kings to win a place in the second round. A place that would be fully deserved if it was the team that nobody saw in the playoffs last fall and didn’t give many people chances to beat the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.
Who exactly was Rob Blake talking about?
Who is Adrien Kembe, who scored two goals, including the winner, as well as collecting an assist, and who deserved to get the first star of the match?
Rob Blake was talking about Philip Danault who offered him a contract worth $33 million spread over six seasons in order to tempt him to go to Los Angeles.
From Philip Danault who was at the center of the action in all three periods of regulation and who set the tone for overtime that quickly turned in the kings’ favour.
Emphasizing the efforts of Danault and his co-workers – Karl Grundstrom on the left and Trevor Moore on the right – Adrian Kempe commented on the winning goal.
“We took advantage that the Oilers’ men were hot on their heels after being pressured by the trio Elephant The guy who just gave his team the win said.
As he did all night when he was on the ice with the Oilers’ first streak, Danault beat Conor McDavid, Evander Kane and Zach Heyman who completed the game of musical chairs on the right side of the first triathlon. Danault and his “sons” upset the big trio of the Oilers who set the table for Quimby, Anzi Kopetar and Alex Yavalo who then figured out how to take advantage of it.
Being effective in all the defensive phases of the game, Danault will not surprise anyone.
Danault’s 56% of his matches played in Match 5 – 14 of 25 including many “wins” in Defensive Zone Playoffs – wouldn’t surprise anyone either.
But he added a third goal since the start of the qualifiers to confirm an attacking awakening surprising to many people. Starting with the great chief of kings, Rob Blake.
“I’ve scored 30 goals this year if I add up the 27 I’ve scored in the regular season,” Philip Danault pointed out to me during a brief chat at the locker room door of his new team.
This is the third qualifying goal, scored by Danault during a powerful attack. Because yes! In Los Angeles, Philip Danault not only did defensive powers, but also got special assignments while playing the force.
Sometimes off the boards, sometimes in the corner of the rink, sometimes even in the middle of the action in front of the opponent’s net, Philippe Danault looks for ways to boost his scoring chances during massive attacks.
By subtly clearing the ball while conservatively to the left of Oilers goalkeeper Mike Smith, Philip Danault scored his 30th goal.And Season goal. The goal, which restored two goals to its kings, less than nine minutes before the end of the match.
In this match, Danault showed the quality of his offensive touch. A touch he wasn’t able to show in Montreal with the Canadians, but she always was anyway.
Having said that, when we saw Danault poke his nose because he got rubbed a few times when he settled into the hole in front of the Oilers goal, you would have sworn he was trying to emulate Brendan Gallagher with who had his best moments with a lockup.
“Gali is a good player and it is true that he knew how to deal with these situations, but I also had good advice from many of my new teammates. Starting with Dustin Brown who taught me how to take advantage of the rebounds given by opposing goalkeepers. I don’t do this alone. I have good teammates helping me and I also had the support of my coach who showed me a lot of confidence in the offensive aspects of the game as well,” continued Danault.
Frustration takes hold of Mzetri
Among all the methods of analyzing the quality of the work of a center qualified to defend and noting the signs of frustration shown by its opponents.
By rushing into Danault on several occasions, including from a standoff that began mid-term, Evander Kane has shown that the level of frustration the Oilers displayed toward the Quebec center is about to explode.
And that’s much better for Danuel who admits to trying to match the quality of defensive work that allowed him to contain Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner of the Maple Leafs in the first round, to contain the forwards he faced in part of the Habs sweep of four games and best elements of the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Final.
Once faced with lightning, in the grand finals, the challenge became almost impossible. why? Because unlike Sheldon Cave in the first round, Paul Morris in the second round and Pete Deboro in the Western Final, Bullets coach John Cooper decided to split his forces on offense to complicate Danault’s work.
The Oilers split up MacDavid and Drissettle for the same reason. Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft’s problem is that after starting the match with Kailer Yamamoto on the right of the first line, he had to be replaced by Jesse Puljujarvi as Danault and his co-owners dominated the match. It wasn’t much better with Puljujarvi. So much so, that Zach Cassian came in relief.
At 23 minutes and 20 seconds of use – the highest total between strikers from both teams – Danault was an Imperial. nothing less. Peaked in time of use since the beginning of the series. In fact, the Kings won the three matches in which Danault played more than 20 minutes.
With two goals behind and less than nine minutes left, the Oilers reunited the beast with two heads. McDavid and Draisaitl took the opportunity to settle the odds and send the game into overtime. Draisaitl scored the two goals: one short and one while Phil Danault was serving a simple penalty kick.
“You can play as best you can without being able to stop players like them from scoring just because they are too good. But I learned a lot last year in the series. I learned a lot this season and I’m still learning. It’s the only way to be better,” Danault said.
The improvement will be the message head coach Todd McClellan will pass on to Danault and the other Kings players in the next game. “As good as we were tonight, it won’t be enough for the next game because our opponents have to be better too,” the Kings coach noted.
The Kings who could cause a first-round upset by eliminating the Oilers and denying hockey fans in Calgary and Edmonton a potential fight in Alberta.
Not bad for a team that had to just make it to the playoffs.
“Reaching to the playoffs is never enough. Once you get into the playoffs, you want to win and we take the means to win. That too, I learned last year,” concluded Danault before retreating to the locker room.
between the lines
- The Kings spent the night in Edmonton and will only travel to California on Wednesday for Game Six on Thursday…
- Like the Maple Leafs, Blues and Hurricanes, the Kings now have a roughly 80% chance of advancing to the next round based on NHL data tied to Game 5 wins in a series that was tied 2-2…
- With two goals in three attempts, Oilers hit the back of the net seven times to kill 17 (41.2% efficiency) and have six goals on 11 kills (54.5% efficiency) in the three games played in Edmonton…
- On the contrary, kings struggle for numerical superiority. Limited to one goal in five attempts on Tuesday, the Kings have only two goals in 20 chances (10% efficiency) and one goal in 13 attempts at Rogers Place (7.7% efficiency)…
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