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Kings defeat Islanders behind Enroth's 31 saves

by Curtis Zupke / NHL.com

LOS ANGELES -- Jhonas Enroth is used to sporadic starts and long stretches without playing. It has become second nature to him, and perhaps that is why he looked so natural in his first home game for the Los Angeles Kings.

Enroth made 31 saves, and Milan Lucic scored in the second period to give the Kings a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders at Staples Center on Thursday.

Enroth is 3-0-0 with two goals against and a .979 save percentage in his first season with the Kings (10-6-0).

"I'm pretty comfortable," Enroth said. "Like I said, it's really up to yourself to stay on top of it during practice, but games are a completely different animal, I guess. It's definitely a tough craft to manage, but these first three games have been going pretty well for me."

Enroth limited rebounds, and the Kings defense blocked 15 shots. Los Angeles made up for what Lucic called a poor third period in a 3-2 loss Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.

"I think we played a lot better in the defensive zone and breaking out the puck, and obviously [Jhonas] had another huge game for us," Lucic said. "He's probably the biggest reason why we won tonight."

Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders (8-6-3), who are 1-1-0 on a California trip that ends Friday at the Anaheim Ducks. Goalie Jaroslav Halak lost his third straight start.

Lucic scored the game-winning goal on an odd bounce after he created a turnover on the forecheck. He went to the net for Tyler Toffoli's rebound and got a piece of the puck before it hit the skate of Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk and caromed into the goal at 3:28.

"I tried to handle the puck and kind of went down, and all of a sudden the goal horn went off," Lucic said. "I didn't know what happened. I thought [Toffoli] or [Jeff Carter] jumped on the rebound there, but you've got to be lucky sometimes, and it's nice to get another one go off me and in."

Mikhail Grabovski drew tripping and hooking penalties to give the Islanders a two-man advantage for 44 seconds early in the third period, but they could not score. Nelson hit the left post.

The Islanders scored four goals Tuesday in a win against the San Jose Sharks, but they went through a stretch of five goals in four games before that.

"We've just got to stick with it," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "It's a frustrating time [with] the hockey that we're playing. We came into a really good atmosphere here against a good team, and I thought we played pretty well. We had a chance with [about] a minute 5-on-3 and didn't get it done."

Drew Doughty's well-placed slap shot from the right point tied it 1-1 at 16:23 of the first, with Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan serving his second penalty of the period, for tripping. It was Doughty's second goal in three games after he went without one in his first 13 games.

Nelson beat Enroth with a wrist shot at 10:41 of the first. Nelson collected Kings center Nick Shore's clearing pass in the right circle and scored on a pinpoint shot past Enroth's left shoulder for his fourth goal.

The Islanders outshot the Kings 12-4 in the third.

"We played hard, competed and tried to throw everything at it in the third," New York captain John Tavares said. "Part of our game is that we haven't let too many goals in this year, but obviously we're not scoring consistently. It seems the way the season's gone for a lot of teams. We just have to keep staying with it, and hopefully they start going in more frequently."

The Kings are 10-1-2 against the Islanders since 2006-07, including 5-0-1 at home.

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