This was a rough one for a number of reasons, but an awful first period for the Islanders led to an awful game for the Islanders, as they never looked competitive in the loss to the Kings. On top of that, Mat Barzal left the game after an apparent ankle injury and did not return, but hopefully it isn’t particularly serious.
The only bright spot tonight was Noah Dobson, who after a rough first period rebounded to put in a strong offensive game, highlighting his development and growing confidence with the puck.
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Anze Kopitar and Anthony Beauvillier exchange shots at opposite ends of the ice, but the Kings would score first, with Trevor Moore drawing a penalty as Noah Dobson struggled to defend against him. But, on the delayed penalty call, Moore would pass the puck over to Phillip Danault who got into the play late and put the puck into a wide open net.
Right after that, JG Pageau was called for hooking, but the Isles were able to kill that penalty, with Semyon Varlamov saving a shot from Sean Durzi, and Carl Grundstrom putting a shot off the side of the net.
The Islanders then barely survived another shift from the buzzing Danault line, only to then give up a goal from the Kopitar line, as Kopitar found Matt Roy all alone and got the puck to him, and he made no mistake to make it 2-0, LA, his first of the season.
Varlamov made a big save on Adrian Kempe off a 2 on 1, and another good save on Viktor Arvidsson, who also hit the post after.
Cal Peterson saved a Kieffer Bellows wraparound attempt, the best Isles scoring chance of the period.
Casey Cizikas headed to the box with 1:47 left in the period for hooking Quinton Byfield.
After the power play had expired, but less than a minute into the period, Byfield would score his second NHL goal (his first also against the Islanders), as the puck went off of Cal Clutterbuck and then off Adam Pelech’s stick past Varlamov.
The Islanders went to the box again, this time with Kieffer Bellows called for an illegal check to the head. The Isles killed that penalty, and then Arthur Kaliyev was called for high sticking Dobson, sending the Islanders to their first power play of the game, where they wouldn’t be able to convert.
However, a few minutes later, Anders Lee would make it 3-1, after Barzal brought the puck into the zone and passed it off to Dobson, who found Lee in front.
Kyle Palmieri drew a penalty, sending Sean Durzi to the box, but early in the man advantage, Barzal got hurt, twisting his ankle pretty badly while tangled up with Danault against the boards. Kempe nearly scored shorthanded during the sequence, as Barzal struggled to get up, and then the play was blown dead to help him get off the ice.
Barzal returned to the ice for his next regular shift, but then at the end of that, limped off the ice back into the dressing room. Zdeno Chara also seemed to be injured after throwing a hit during the period.
To add insult to injury, noted people-biter Brendan Lemieux scored with just under 30 seconds left to make it 4-1.
Dobson drew a penalty after skating around some Kings, before Drew Doughty slid into him, taking him down to the ice. The Isles can’t score on that power play, either, and the Kings had a good shorthanded chance, along with Doughty having a look on goal as he exited the box.
Dobson had a backhand shot stopped by Peterson off a breakaway.
Brock Nelson was called for hooking Drew Doughty, but not much came off the power play. Durzi interferes with Cizikas, but that goes uncalled, and he retaliates by cross checking Durzi right in front of the ref, who calls the penalty on that, sending the Kings back to the power play. They had some good chances, but they couldn’t extend their lead.
With 1:16 left in the period, Pageau scored to make it 4-2. The Isles pull Varlamov for an extra skater, but with 17 seconds left, Moore would score into the empty net to make it 5-2.
Next, the Islanders have no time for rest, as they’ll be facing the Anaheim Ducks today, technically, at 8:30pm EST. Hopefully Trevor Zegras will spare us from being part of his growing highlight reel.