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Kings can't recover from early deficit, fall 5-2 to Islanders

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

Coming off of a performance that was nearly impossible to top, the Kings came out rather flat in their 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders Thursday evening at the Barclays Center.

“Yeah, we were flat,” Darryl Sutter said. “We didn’t play much of our game at all.”

With Jhonas Enroth making his eighth start of the season while Jonathan Quick recovers on a day-to-day basis, the Kings fell behind three goals in the first period, finding themselves in a tough position playing from behind.

Johnny Boychuk was the first to score for the Islanders, giving New York a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game when he fired a slap-shot past Jhonas Enroth’s glove side, off the post and in.

Boychuk’s goal was the result of the Islanders cashing in on a Kings turnover in the neutral zone. “In this league you’ve got to make that next play and I wasn’t able to make that next play,” Milan Lucic said of the puck he coughed up.

Casey Cizikas gave New York a 2-0 lead 11 minutes into the game, slamming home a juicy rebound while he was lost in coverage.

The Islanders took a 3-0 lead with six and-a-half minutes to play in the first when Anders Lee connected on New York’s second power play of the evening.

Kyle Clifford got the Kings on the board midway through the second, scoring his first goal of the season when he followed up on a shot of his own, jamming a loose puck under the pads of Thomas Greiss to cut Islanders’ lead to two.

The momentum the Kings did muster together in the second period from Clifford’s goal was muffled, however, by New York’s captain John Tavares, when he whistled a wrist shot high past Enroth’s glove-side to give the Islanders a 4-1 lead with 6:30 to play in the second.

In the third, the Kings got back to within two when Milan Lucic buried a rebound while on a two-on-one sequence with Jeff Carter.

Darryl Sutter opted to pull Jhonas Enroth for an extra attacker with just under five minutes to play when the Kings were granted their third and final power play of the night. Travis Hamonic sealed the Kings’ fate with an empty-net goal, bringing the score to 5-2, the night’s final tally.

Kevin Gravel played in his first NHL game Thursday night, logging 10:46 minutes of ice time, blocking one shot. “It’s good, obviously it’s exciting,” Gravel said of playing in his first NHL game. “You’ve been working your whole life for this and you get the first one, it’s an exciting moment.”

Five different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Jeff Carter in shots taken (6), Trevor Lewis and Luke Schenn in hits delivered (5), Jake Muzzin in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (29:04). Jhonas Enroth made 25 saves in the loss.

The Kings will continue their season-long seven-game road trip Friday night when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 4:00 PM PST.

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