Before many fans could settle into their seats Saturday night at Staples Center, the Kings were well on their way to their eighth consecutive home victory to start the season.
Anze Kopitar scored two goals in the first five minutes and the Kings went on to defeat the New York Islanders, 5-1, before another sellout crowd.
The eight consecutive home victories broke a franchise record for Los Angeles, as did its 12-3-0 record after 15 games.
The Kings have scored the game's first goal in six straight games and are 9-0-0 when scoring first this season.
“I think it’s the maturing of a hockey club that understands the importance of the first period,” said Kings coach Terry Murray. “If you come out and you establish a good game, you’re able to get some offensive opportunities generated, maybe lucky enough to get a goal, and you’re leading at the end of the first period. The percentage of winning those games is pretty high in the National Hockey League.”
Justin Williams also scored for the Kings, giving him at least a point in nine straight games to tie a career-best streak. Williams also discussed the importance of a fast start.
“It’s been in the game plan to have good starts,” he said. “When you’re on a roll, kind of like we are, you come out every game the same way. That bodes well for the rest of the season and it just keeps things rolling.
You play hard every night and that’s how we’re expected to play, start to finish. We can’t get behind in games. We know how hard it is to come back in this league, but we’re showing how hard we are when we have the lead.”
As motivating as the fast start was for the Kings, it was equally deflating for the Islanders, who ran their winless streak to 10 games.
“As of late we’ve been having some good first periods but we don’t end up on top,” said veteran Doug Weight. “There’s a quick bounce or fast break and when things aren’t going well it ends up in your net.”
Now it's on to San Jose for a Pacific Division game Monday night against the Sharks, where the Kings will once again try to beat their opponent to the first punch.