Game 53; 32-18-3
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Their first visit to Barclays Center was not a particular one to remember.
The Los Angeles Kings dug themselves a hole early and just could not dig themselves out as they fall to the New York Islanders by a 5-2 score. The loss ends the season series at 1-1-0 with the home team winning on both occasions.
The Isles started strong in this one as Johnny Boychuk blasted a point shot past a screened Jhonas Enroth, giving the home side the early lead. Then, just over five minutes later, Casey Cizikas pounced on a loose rebound, beating Enroth for his fifth to extend New York’s lead.
The Kings, who started slow out of the gate, picking things up in the late stages of the first but just could not get on the board. At the 11:10 of the second, though, they did as Kyle Clifford stuffed his first of the campaign underneath netminder Thomas Greiss to put Los Angeles back in the game.
Whatever momentum the Kings were able to muster, however, was lost when, just 2:20 later, John Tavares sniped his 20th home to regain the three-goal cushion for the Islanders. The goal, believe it or not, was Tavares’s first ever against the Kings — the last team he had yet to score against.
The tough start was what proved to be the difference in this one but the Kings were also victims of a few post hits that did not go their way as luck was not on the silver-and-black’s side on this night.
Defenseman Kevin Gravel made his NHL debut on Thursday, finishing with one blocked shot, two giveaways but a good effort in 10:46 of ice time.
This was a tough effort overall, but the Kings will hope to rebound quickly as they are back at it on Friday night against the New York Rangers at famed Madison Square Garden.