LOS ANGELES – After trading goals in the first period, Thursday night’s affair at STAPLES Center became anyone’s game. A shootout was needed to make a decision, where the Kings faltered, falling 2-1 to the New York Islanders.
For the Islanders, it was their second victory in as many nights, both of those wins coming after regulation time.
The Kings came hot out of the gate, accounting for 10 shots in the first period, and a myriad of scoring opportunities. They also, for the first time in seven games, scored the first goal of the contest.
“That’s helpful for our group,” Dwight King said on grabbing an early lead. “[The Islanders] are a really good first period team. I think they have fourteen or fifteen goals in the first period this year so, like I said, that’s something that we wanted to improve on. Just getting pucks and bodies to the net is a way to produce offense and we were fortunate enough to get the first one.”
Just over three minutes into the first period, while maintaining control and possession in New York’s zone, Dwight King deflected home a Mike Richards shot past the Islanders’ Chad Johnson to give the Kings an early 1-0 lead.
Richards, who saw King posted in front of New York’s net, fired a shot/pass toward the crease, which King redirected home low to the right corner. For King, it was his second point in as many games; he scored Tuesday night in Dallas. King has three points (1G, 2A) in the last four games.
With his assist on King’s goal, Mike Richards is now running with a four-game point streak, atoning for one goal and three assists during that span.
Jake Muzzin, in recording the secondary assist on the goal, registered his first point of the season.
Late in the first period, and on their first power play of the night, the Islanders struck to tie the score, Brock Nelson sneaking a puck past Jonathan Quick just inside the right post. Nelson’s goal evened the score with 3:28 to play in the opening frame.
While the game didn’t offer any more offense from either side until the shootout, the pace of the game was outstanding. New York recorded 17 shots through the final two periods, the Kings 16.
Jonathan Quick was a big reason the Kings were able to extend this game past regulation time, making a number of timely saves, bailing the Kings out as they committed five penalties on the evening.
In overtime, each club registered three shots on goal respectively, but the Islanders came away with the best chances. With just under a minute to play in OT, Jonathan Quick robbed former King Lubomir Visnovsky of burying the game-winning goal.
Unfortunately, Quick couldn’t remain as stellar during the shootout, and his forwards couldn’t offer any assistance. Both New York’s Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen scored for the Islanders, while the Kings’ shooters, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, couldn't beat Chad Johnson.
“I think we had a really good first period and the last seven or eight minutes we weren’t as sharp as we had to be,” Darryl Sutter noted following the loss. “We regrouped going into the third [period] and we had a good one. We had good looks, but we missed the net two or three times.”
This was the fourth game of the season that extended past regulation time for the Kings, they’re 1-3 in those situations. It was the second time the Kings have gone to a shootout this regular season, they’re now 1-1 when extending to extra shots.
Jake Muzzin led all Kings players in shots (5), Trevor Lewis in hits (4), Jake Muzzin in blocked shots (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played. Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in the loss.
The Kings are now 4-0-1 against the Islanders in their last five visits to STAPLES Center. New York hasn’t won a game in regulation time in Los Angeles since February 15, 2003.
With the shootout loss, the Kings’ record now sits at 7-4-3. They will host the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night at STAPLES Center before heading out on a quick one-game road trip to Anaheim next Wednesday. The Kings come into Saturday’s game with a seven-game point streak on home ice (6-0-1). The puck is slated to drop at 7:00PM PT.