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Kings 3, Islanders 2 (EN): Isles comeback too little, too late

The loss puts the Islanders at 2-13-2 against playoff teams, a record that makes the Isles already slim playoff hopes seem even slimmer.

NHL: JAN 27 Kings at Islanders Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Drew Doughty’s 1000th game will be one to remember for him and for LA Kings rookie Quinton Byfield, but one to forget for the Islanders. Byfield scored his first NHL goal (of course against the Islanders, as the prophecies foretold) and the Islanders couldn’t get much going against despite their best efforts.

Until the last few minutes of the game, though, when they’d score with the net empty, only to then give up an empty net goal before scoring again to make it a one goal game.

It’s just not enough for a team that needs wins and needs to prove themselves against teams actually in the postseason picture.

[NHL Gamecenter | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]

First Period

Adam Pelech rang a shot off the post in what was the Isles’ best attempt of the period, given that they had just 3 shots on goal.

It was a weak effort, and the Kings were rewarded with Quinton Byfield’s first NHL goal. His shot went past Varlamov a bit too easily, also a theme for the night.

The Kings would only record 9 shots on goal in that period though, a low event opening frame.

Second Period

Casey Cizikas went to the box for tripping Byfield, and the Kings had some solid chances on the power play, but couldn’t convert.

Josh Bailey had a great opportunity in the slot saved, and the Islanders had a few good chances to tie the game, but couldn’t get anything past Cal Petersen.

Blake Lizotte was called for tripping Mat Barzal, and on that play, Brendan Lemieux put the puck in the net for the Kings, but the play was whistled dead prior, so the goal clearly didn’t count.

Robin Salo hit the post on the Islanders’ power play, the best chance for the man advantage that struggled for the majority of the two minutes.

Then, Varlamov gave up a soft goal to Andreas Athanasiou with just 5 seconds left in the period to make it 2-0.

Third Period

Kyle Palmieri, back in the lineup tonight, had a wraparound attempt stopped by defenseman Olli Maata.

Trevor Moore had a good shot on goal after a defensive breakdown on the Islanders’ part, but Varlamov made the save.

The Islanders pulled Varlamov for an extra skater with a little over two minutes left, and Barzal made it 2-1, on a similar shot to the one Athanasiou scored on.

The Isles pulled Varlamov again, but couldn’t break into the Kings’ zone easily, and Adrian Kempe scored to make it 3-1, putting the game out of reach.

However, Casey Cizikas would make it 3-2 with 19 seconds left, giving everyone just a little bit of hope before time ran out.

Quick Thoughts

  • The team just feels old and slow. It surprised me how much better the Kings seemed to be moving around the ice, and when you see Dustin Brown outspeeding Zdeno Chara to a puck... woof.
  • Is it time to start worrying about JG Pageau? He hasn’t been nearly as feisty or engaged in games this season, and he’s only on pace for about 27 points, his lowest total in any full or close-to-full NHL season he’s played.
  • I hope that when Pulock comes back, Salo stays in the lineup. Time to let Greene and Chara rotate, these guys just can’t stay at a high level over the course of an 82 game season.

Up Next

Next, we get to meet the Seattle Kraken for the first time, as they come to UBS Arena as a snowstorm that could bring as much as 20 inches of snow (!!) heads towards New York, too. We’ll see if that game happens, but if it does, it’ll also mean the return of Jordan Eberle, who Seattle claimed in the expansion draft this offseason.