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New York Islanders 5 (EN), Los Angeles Kings 2: First-period burst fuels 3rd straight win

A refreshingly angst-free night.

And now my sprockets we must hug.
And now my sprockets we must hug.
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Faced with a fearsome opponent that destroyed its previous foe, the New York Islanders brought their A game for a surprisingly stress-free 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

A three-goal burst in the first period against Kings backup goalie Jhonas Enroth gave the Isles a great head start on the way to their third consecutive win. They had five separate goal scorers while Thomas Greiss made 28 saves at the other end. Their vaunted penalty kill had another perfect night with three successful kills capped by an empty net shorthander to extinguish any comeback hopes.

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The first period could not have gone better. Johnny Boychuk began the fun with a goal off the post after John Tavares curled and set him up with the 250th assist of the captain's NHL regular season career.

Casey Cizikas doubled the lead at at 11:19 on a rebound after some good forechecking by the fourth line. Two minutes later and with the Isles on their second power play, Kyle Okposo made a nice move at the left circle to free a pass to Nick Leddy, whose point shot was deflected by Anders Lee and past Jhonas Enroth to make the game seem dangerously comfortable before 14 minutes had elapsed.

To preserve the three-goal lead but unsettle that comfort, Thomas Greiss was forced into a great save on Dustin Brown as he walked in alone after a sweet two-on-one pass from Anze Kopitar.

In the second period, the Isles started to get a little loose and the Kings finally put one behind Thomas Greiss when Kyle Clifford jammed away at a puck along the German's left post.

Any proverbial "momentum" from that one was removed two minutes later when Tavares ripped his 20th goal of the season over Enroth's shoulder from the right wing during an odd-man rush.

Kings frustration mounting, Drew Doughty administered slash and then a bat to Cal Clutterbuck's back to earn a visit to the penalty box.

The Islanders couldn't convert that power play, but it burned another two minutes on their way to reaching the second intermission leading 4-1 against a very scary opponent.

The third period was mostly quiet. Nikolay Kulemin had a chance to put it away when he used a Grabner-esque speed burst to create a shorthanded breakaway, but his decent move under pressure nonetheless had a Grabner-esque finish.

I have no idea whether the call on Milan Lucic's foot-shovel goal from a Jeff Carter rebound would have been reversed if he hadn't tapped the puck with his stick before it went over the line. But he did get a stick on it, a very heads-up play on a puck that was already going over the line, and that made it 4-2 with 10 minutes to play.

Kulemin was the victim of an amazing penalty call when Doughty tomahawk-slashed his stick, breaking it. His stick stayed intact enough for him to carry the puck in the neutral zone before he realized it was broken, and promptly dropped it. The refs inexplicably called him for playing with a broken stick...but their eagle eyes didn't happen to notice how it got that way.

No matter. With Enroth pulled for a sixth attacker, Travis Hamonic won a rebound in the low slot in front of Greiss and lobbed his clear all the way down the ice and into the empty net for the Isles' fifth goal.

That capped a win where the Isles looked organized, dialed-in and -- this always helps -- cashing in the bounces they created. Read not into one lone game, but enjoy it when it goes this well.