Slava Voynov, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli scored in the final period to rally the Kings to a 3-2 victory Thursday at Nassau Coliseum. Toffoli deflected Jake Muzzin's wrister from the left point past Kevin Poulin with 1:33 remaining.
New York outshot L.A. 15-5 in the second period and got goals by Casey Cizikas and Aaron Ness to lead 2-0. But the Kings used their size and strength to dominate the third period. Voynov got the Kings on the board at 5:34, and Pearson got the Kings even at 12:15 by scoring a goal in his first NHL game.
"Our young guys really stepped up and kind of led the way a little bit, which is great," said goaltender Ben Scrivens, who made 23 saves and figures to get the bulk of the action with Jonathan Quick sidelined by a groin strain. "That's what you need out of guys. A couple guys' first games and first call-ups, so you need those guys to step up and they did for us, so that's huge. Good team win for us."
The Islanders fell to 1-5-0 in their past six games and lost for the third time this season when leading by two goals. All three have come at home, and the Islanders led 2-0 after two periods in two of those games.
"A team like that, they're going to compete to the very end," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "They're a character team, they've won a Stanley Cup a couple of years ago (2012). We have to get the consistency and understand what it takes each and every night. We have to get that message through to ourselves and understand what it's going to take."
The Islanders have been outscored 20-11 in the third period this season, and Tavares said that's unacceptable for a team with Stanley Cup Playoff aspirations.
"We can't sit back," he said. "When they put on a good effort and come hard in the third period, we have to find ways to respond. This one is tough to swallow."
Scrivens survived a hectic final minute after the Islanders pulled Poulin for an extra skater. With Quick back in L.A. healing from a Grade 2 groin strain, minor-league call-up Martin Jones dressed as the backup.
"You've got to take advantage when you get a chance," Scrivens said. "I'm really fortunate that the guys came through for myself and for the team big-time in the third."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter played down the significance of winning the first game without Quick.
"We're not a high-low team," he said. "That's why we're a good hockey club. It doesn't mean you win every night."
The Kings controlled the tempo early and outshot the Islanders 10-7 in the first period, but most of the shots by both teams were from the perimeter. L.A. won 15 of 22 faceoffs, but the Kings hurt themselves by giving away the puck 10 times, twice as many as the Islanders.
The Islanders came out with more energy in the second period, dominated play and put two pucks past Scrivens.
New York scored at 2:44 on a rare goal by its fourth line. Cizikas won a battle in the left corner and forced the puck through a tangle of bodies toward the slot. Scrivens stopped the slow-moving puck with his toe, but Cizikas crashed the net, found the rebound, and shoveled a high backhander into the net for his first of the season.
Ness, one of New York's three second-round picks in the 2008 NHL Draft, scored his first NHL goal at 4:58 off a great pass by Tavares. He controlled the puck in the right circle and fired a hard pass across the slot to an onrushing Ness, who one-timed it past Scrivens' glove.
Poulin, who wasn't tested often through the first 40 minutes, made a pair of brilliant stops in the first 66 seconds of the third period. He denied Mike Richards' backhander on a shorthanded breakaway in the first half-minute, then went right-to-left and gloved Muzzin's one-timer from near the left faceoff dot at 1:06.
"I don't think we had the same energy," Poulin said. "We didn't play the way we could."
The Kings finally solved Poulin when Anze Kopitar controlled the puck behind the net and found Voynov in the lower right circle. Voynov's sharp-angled shot caught Poulin moving and got between the goaltender's pads for his third goal of the season.
Los Angeles continued to push and tied the game with a power-play goal. With Cal Clutterbuck off for an illegal check to the head of Trevor Lewis, Pearson's wrister from the right circle got between Poulin's pads and slithered barely over the goal line, a ruling confirmed by video review.
"We stopped moving our feet. We stopped doing the things that were making us successful: getting pucks in, being hard on them, taking away their time and space," Tavares said. "We seemed to grip our sticks tight. We talked about going after them and getting that next goal, but we just weren't good enough in all areas of our game."