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Kings stave off combative Islanders, win 2-1

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES – The Kings hung on to stave off a big, skilled, aggressive New York Islanders club Thursday night in their 2-1 win STAPLES Center.

Jhonas Enroth made his third start of the season, and his first in front of the home crowd, stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced to improve his record to 3-0-0.

The Islanders got on the board first, just over 10 minutes into the game, when Brock Nelson fired a shot that beat Enroth high to the glove side. The Kings got caught by New York’s heavy forecheck after a clearing attempt by Drew Doughty failed, and Nelson’s shot was the end result of the Islanders’ barbaric attack.

Just over five minutes after Nelson’s opening marker, while the Kings were working on their third power play of the night, Drew Doughty whistled home his second goal of the season to knot the score 1-1.

After winning an offensive zone faceoff, Anze Kopitar chipped the puck up to Christian Ehrhoff atop the point, who then found Doughty with a cross-ice feed. Doughty, with space, stepped into a slap shot that grazed off of an Islanders defender and past Jaroslav Halak.

Doughty’s goal was the 32nd power play goal of his NHL career, surpassing Lubomir Visnovsky for third on the Kings’ list among defensemen in that department.

Early in the second, the Kings struck to take a 2-1 lead. After dumping the puck into New York’s zone, Milan Lucic flew in on the forecheck, causing Johnny Boychuck to cough up the puck. Carter, following in on the play, fired the puck to the net, where Tyler Toffoli got a piece of it, before Lucic got a stick on it and caught a fortuitous bounce off of Boychuck’s skate before the puck bounced into the net.

For Lucic, it was his fourth goal of the season, a goal that would eventually be the evening’s game-winner. Lucic now has three game-winning goals this season, leading the Kings in that department.

In the third period, holding onto a 2-1 lead, the Kings had a survive combative Islanders team that fired off 12 shots during the final 20 minutes. Brayden McNabb and Drew Doughty were called for minor penalties, where the Kings had to kill off :44 seconds of a 5-on-3.

The Kings have now killed off 12 consecutive penalties, and 18 of 19 over their last seven games.

Four different players led the Kings in points scored (1), Tyler Toffoli in shots taken (5), Trevor Lewis in hits delivered (8), Anze Kopitar in shots blocked (5), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (25:42). Jhonas Enroth made 31 saves in the win.

The Kings will finish off their five-game home stand Saturday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers at STAPLES Center, with the puck scheduled to drop just after 7:00PM PST.





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