Game 16; 10-6-0
LOS ANGELES — It was Military Appreciation Night at STAPLES Center and the Los Angeles Kings were able to send the brave men and women in attendance home happy.
Since their seven-game win streak had ended, the Kings have not won — or lost — consecutive games. Having been defeated on Tuesday, the Kings hoped that the trend would continue for one more night, and it did as they edged the New York Islanders by a 2-1 margin.
The Kings were unsuccessful on their first two power play attempts but like the old adage goes, the third time was the charm.
For the first time this season, Jhonas Enroth got the call in the Los Angeles goal on a non-back-to-back night and, like his previous two starts, he was stellar. However, the Isles were able to solve him early as they opened the scoring at the 10:41 mark of the first. There, Brock Nelson wristed his first over Enroth, finishing off a one-timer from John Tavares. But the Kings rebounded.
Just three seconds into their third man-advantage of the night, Drew Doughty rifled a point shot past a screened Jaroslav Halak to tie the game. The goal was Doughty’s second in three games and it was assisted by Christian Ehrhoff — who didn’t play on Tuesday — and Anze Kopitar. In addition, although he didn’t provide an assist, Milan Lucic was instrumental on the tying goal, setting up shop in front of the Isles goal to screen Halak.
In the second, it was the TLC Line who found the scoresheet. The line, which hasn’t been quite as consistent lately as a whole, lit the lamp in this one as Milan Lucic tipped his fourth past Jaroslav Halak — with assists, of course, going to Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter — to give the Kings their first lead of the night.
With the assist, Jeff Carter recorded his 44th point in 43 career games against the Islanders. His helper would prove crucial as the goal would eventually stand as the game-winner. That would be thanks in large part to the defense and the play of Enroth.
In the third, the Kings would find themselves down two men to an Islanders squad that had entered the contest with the sixth-best power play in the league. Enroth and company, however, were not intimidated. While the Kings netminder made key saves, it was his defenders who made key blocks and cleared crucial attempts out of harm’s way to preserve the home team’s lead. Being outshot 12-4 in the third certainly helped the case for Enroth and his defenders as the Isles just could not tie it.
The best defender on this night, though, was a forward as Anze Kopitar led the way with five blocked shots. Jake Muzzin was the most physical in this one as he dished out five hits en route to the Los Angeles win.
Thanks to his 31-save performance, Jhonas Enroth improves to 3-0-0 on this young season for the silver-and-black.
As for John Tavares, the Los Angeles Kings remain the only team in the league he has not scored a goal against in his career. But while that is a fun stat for Kings fans, all they care about is the win — a win that puts them back in the Pacific-division lead thanks to Vancouver‘s loss on Thursday.
The Kings now have a split on their homestand as they look to end it with another victory. On Saturday, they play host to the Edmonton Oilers befote hitting the road.