LOS ANGELES (AP) Phillip Danault had a hat trick, Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists, and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Sunday.

Alex Laferriere also scored, Cam Talbot made 30 saves, and the Kings have won eight of 12 under interim coach Jim Hiller.

“Obviously, we're playing way better now,” Fiala said. “Had a two or three month slump or whatever, and we have been playing better after the All-Star break. ... We are playing for each other, we love each other, and you can really feel it right now.”

Nico Daws was replaced in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots for the Devils, who have lost five of seven. Timo Meier scored, and Akira Schmid made nine saves in relief.

“I don’t think it’s about effort, it’s more between the ears,” New Jersey forward Erik Haula said. “We keep kind of shooting ourselves in the foot, we keep making similar mistakes, and at this time of the year it’s gonna hurt you.”

Aside from an unexpected deflection off the stanchion to help give the Devils an early lead seconds into the game, the Kings delivered one of their most complete performances since Hiller replaced Todd McLellan on Feb. 2.

Danault tied it at 7:56 on a breakaway set up by Fiala’s alert stretch pass, which was the winger’s fourth assist during a three-game streak.

Laferriere, who was born in Chatham, New Jersey, and grew up attending Devils games, fired in his ninth goal of the season with 5:11 left in the first to put Kings up 2-1.

“We talked from the start about getting back to our identity, and I think we're pretty close right now,” Hiller said.

A longtime nemesis of Los Angeles during his time with the San Jose Sharks, Meier got his 15th goal in 31 career games against them 15 seconds into the game.

Quinton Byfield’s pass in his own zone took an awkward redirection right to Nico Hischier, leading to his fifth assist in three games for setting up Meier.

“We just took a breath, and from that point on we dominated the game,” Fiala said of the Kings' response.

The Kings kept up the pressure in the second period, with Danault scoring into an open net with 7:37 left and Fiala burying a power-play goal 34 seconds later to send Daws to the bench early.

“We got the start we wanted, came out and scored a goal,” Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said. “You can do a lot of great things in the game, and then you can beat yourself. I thought we beat ourselves.”

Danault, who hadn’t scored at home in the first 27 games of the season, got an empty-netter with 2:13 remaining. It was Danault's first hat trick for the Kings and second of his career.

“He has done so many good things the whole season, and he deserves it, and today was his day,” Fiala said.

It has been Fiala's week, picking up three goals and five assists in the three games since leading scorer Adrian Kempe hurt his wrist against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. But Fiala said his increased production has come from focusing on playing a complete game instead of pushing to generate more offense.

“I don't try to chase the game, which maybe I did a little bit in the start of the year,” he said. “I just try to be calm, patient, and it will come.”


Devils: Host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Kings: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.


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