New York Islanders 2, Kings 1 (OT)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: Despite a major shake up to the forward lines, the Kings lack of scoring continued Saturday afternoon in Uniondale, N.Y., as they were held to one goal or fewer for the fourth time in the last five games, dropping them to 1-3-1 on this season-long six-game road trip.
THE STAT: At this rate, the Kings will finish as the lowest-scoring NHL team in the last 10 years. Their scoring average dipped again to 2.07 goals per game. The last team to average under 2.09 goals was the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2001-02 and, not surprisingly, they had the worst record in the Western Conference.
TURNING POINT: The offensive issues have been going on for some time, but L.A.’s defense has remained one of the best in the NHL. That wasn’t the case on the winning goal, however. Islanders defenseman and team captain Mark Streit skated right around Kings defenseman Alec Martinez at the blue line, then weaved through Trevor Lewis and Andrei Loktionov before letting go of a shot just as a fourth member of the Kings, defenseman Matt Greene, skated into the picture. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was positioned well for the shot, but the puck skidded through his pads 1:36 into overtime. The Kings lost in overtime or a shootout for the 11th time this season, tied for the league lead.
HOT: Kings rookies Jordan Nolan and Dwight King did indeed start on the second line with center Mike Richards. Nolan and King were called up from the AHL on Friday and immediately put to the test. Nolan, who made his NHL debut, had three good scoring chances on the doorstep but was unable to get a blade on the puck. Richards finished with five shots on goal and three that were off target, his busiest game since before he was sidelined eight games because of a concussion in early December. It was easily the best game for the second line in a while. Unfortunately, they weren’t rewarded with any points.
NOT: Dustin Penner and his $4.25-million salary was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Kings coach Darryl Sutter sent a message when he benched Penner for half the third period in a 3-1 loss Thursday against the Florida Panthers, then demoted him to the fourth line during practice Friday. Penner, who has five goals this season, is in a contract year but may not make it through the month with the Kings.
GOOD MOVE: Loktionov scored the lone goal for the Kings, one that was long overdue. He had not scored in nearly a year when Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi took a shot from above the left circle. Dustin Brown collected the rebound and shot it back toward the New York goal. Loktionov got a piece of the puck as it whizzed by and redirected it into the net 5:20 into the second period.
BAD MOVE: Islanders left wing Matt Martin laid a stiff check on Lewis early in the third period but his momentum carried him chin-first into the boards. Martin was wobbly after getting to his feet and looked to be headed to the quiet room for evaluation. However, he skated back onto the ice a few minutes later. A close second for "bad move" of the game was the dive by New York right wing P.A. Parenteau after Quick gave him a little shove to the chest after he ventured into the crease with about 8 ½ minutes left in regulation. One of the worst acting jobs of the season.
NOTABLE: The Islanders have been tied at the end of regulation in four of their last five games. The Kings have been tied at the end of regulation a league-leading 18 times.
UP NEXT: Sunday at Dallas Stars, 3 p.m. PT.