The New York Islanders appeared destined for at least a point on Wednesday, but a flurry of late goals by the Los Angeles Kings broke open a tie game and sent them to a 4-2 loss at Staples Center.
The Islanders and Kings were tied 1-1 with three minutes to play on Wednesday, but Derek Forbort and Dwight King scored a pair of goals 25 seconds apart, opening up a 3-1 lead. Jake Muzzin added an empty-netter shortly after giving the Kings three total goals in 44 seconds. Anders Lee capped the crazy finish with his second of the period, but that was the extent of the Islanders' comeback bid.
"It's disappointing obviously," captain John Tavares said. "The third period was probably our best period of the game, unfortunately just not able to at least get it to overtime and obviously try to get the two points."
It was disappointing for several reasons. The Islanders held the Kings to 28 shots and a limited number of scoring chances, but the loss also negated a gritty effort in the second half of a back-to-back.
"We limited their chances and this was one of the better games that we've played in this building," head coach Jack Capuano said.
Lee's game-tying goal at 4:27 of the third period appeared to be the breakthrough the Islanders needed to get their offense rolling, but the Isles were on the wrong side of two third period penalties, the second of which led to the Kings go-ahead goal.
Forbort's goal was technically scored at even strength, but with Nick Leddy just leaving the penalty box and yet to rejoin the play, the Kings were still on a de facto power play. The defenseman put a wrist shot on net, which caromed off a player in front and past Jaroslav Halak (24 saves) at 17:07. The Kings struck again almost immediately, with Trevor Lewis pulling the puck around Halak before feeding King in the crease for the eventual winner at 17:32.
Muzzin's empty-netter effectively sealed it, but the Islanders still pushed for the comeback. Lee tucked his second of period past Peter Budaj (22 saves) at 18:08.
Video: NYI@LAK: Lee stuffs in a rebound off the boards
"They took advantage of a couple of opportunities," Lee said. "They made some skilled plays, but a seeing-eye shot to take the lead, hits the pipe and goes in. Those are tough to handle with three minutes left… We just have to have a little more poise and stick with it."
Alec Martinez scored the Kings' first goal at 15:34 in the first period, beating a screened Halak up high. That was the only score until Lee's first of the third period, as the Islanders forward lost his helmet in a net front battle before he swept the puck through his legs, a pair of defensemen and Budaj.
"We had glimpses of a game tonight that were pretty good," Lee said. "If we can play more like we did against Anaheim we should have a great chance."
CLUTTERBUCK MISSES GAME:
Cal Clutterbuck was a late scratch on Wednesday, taking warmups, but ultimately sitting out with an upper-body injury. Shane Prince drew into the lineup in Clutterbuck's absence.
The Islanders wrap up their three-game California road trip on Friday afternoon in San Jose. Puck drop is at 4 p.m. ET