Nothing about Phillip Danault's first stint with Montreal in 2015-16 suggested he could be anything more than a useful bottom-six forward that could win faceoffs.That's where he began last season before replacing top-line forward Alex Galchenyuk, who suffered a knee injury early in December. Danault meshed well with Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov, netting 40 points in a full 82-game season. But we're not talking about a high-end offensive talent, as Danault ranked 10th among Montreal forwards with 37 seconds of power-play ice time per game. Claude Julien will be leading the team during his first training camp as Montreal's head coach, so there's uncertainty for many players beyond the team's elite stars. If Julien opts to use Alex Galchenyuk at wing, Danault could revive his role on the top line and be a useful fantasy piece by way of osmosis, skating with Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher.
Danault opened the scoring and assisted on the overtime-winner Saturday against the Lightning. That's goals in back-to-back games for Danault, who is on track for a 40-point season in his first full campaign with the Habs. His current top-line role alongside Alexander Radulov and Max Pacioretty makes him worth a look in some deep leagues right now, and he's also seeing power-play time. If he continues skating on the top line, the 24-year-old possesses enough skill to be worth considering in late rounds of playoff pools.
Danault had a goal, an assist and four shots on net in Montreal's 4-3 shootout win over the Senators on Saturday. The goal snapped a 21-game goal drought for Danault, who has 10 points in his last 27 games. His line was the best the Habs had to offer Saturday, as Danault, Andrew Shaw (one goal, one assist) and Artturi Lehknon (one assist) all made it to the scoresheet. The trio also had 12 of Montreal's 32 shots. Seeing this kind of offensive impact from a line other than Montreal's top unit has been a rare sight over the second half of the season.
Danault practiced on the third line Friday, the first practice under new coach Claude Julien, Stu Cowan of Hockey Inside Out reports. Danault's scoring should take a hit, getting fewer shifts while not skating with Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov, Montreal's most consistent point-producers this season. His wingers now will be Arrturi Lehkonen, who hasn't scored in 10 games, and Andrew Shaw, who last scored seven games ago.
Danault (upper body) will play in Sunday's game against Edmonton, Arpon Basu of NHL.com reports. The center will skate in his normal spot alongside Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov, and should be played normally in fantasy leagues despite being a bit banged up. With three points in his last three games, he's got a budding hot streak, and a solid performance against the Oilers would solidify that.
Danault sustained an upper-body injury in Saturday's matinee loss to the Capitals, putting into question his status for a home game against the Oilers, John Lu of TSN Montreal reports. With bench boss Michel Therrien unsure as to whether Danault will suit up for the second side of a back-to-back, the attention turns to David Desharnais, who was a healthy scratch in the most recent contest. Danault hasn't missed a game all season, which has allowed him to enjoy a breakout consisting of 10 goals and 17 helpers. He's day-to-day, at least until more information is revealed.
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