The Los Angeles Kings may have surprised some with last season's 101-point effort. While that success has carried over to 2010-11, the shock factor has worn off.
The Kings look to continue the best home start in franchise history Saturday night when they face the New York Islanders, losers of nine in a row.
Los Angeles (11-3-0) needed a tiebreaking third-period goal from Justin Williams to earn a physical 3-1 victory over Dallas on Thursday night. The Kings improved to 7-0-0 at home for the first time since 1980-81 in a game that saw four fights and 91 penalty minutes.
Los Angeles won its fifth straight and seventh in eight games, matching the 1974-75 Kings for the best start in team history with 22 points through 14 games.
Dustin Brown also scored to tie Williams for the team lead with seven goals.
"Every team is coming in here expecting a hard game, and they're raising their games accordingly," Brown said. "We're not going to catch anybody by surprise this year. If we've got to play a physical game, we have big, strong guys who can answer the bell. I think we can handle it."
Jonathan Quick made 27 saves and improved to 9-1-0. His 1.58 goals-against average is among the best in the NHL.
Not far behind in that category is the Islanders' Dwayne Roloson, who despite a 2.10 GAA is 2-6-1. Roloson stopped 37 shots but lost 2-1 to San Jose in a shootout Thursday.
New York (4-9-3) has totaled 13 goals during its nine-game skid, scoring two or fewer goals in its last seven. The Islanders earned a point for the first time since Oct. 21, when they beat Tampa Bay 3-2 for their last win.
"I guess that's a positive, but close doesn't cut it any more," Roloson said. "We have to stop the bleeding right now."
The Islanders have lost nine straight for the first time since dropping 10 in a row from Dec. 4-23, 2008.
"We played great but it's tough," said forward P.A. Parenteau, who scored his fourth goal of the season Thursday. "It's got to end Saturday. It's so important for us to score the first goal and get a lead. We have to generate offense."
Defenseman James Wisniewski leads New York with 12 points, but has one assist in his last seven games. John Tavares hasn't scored a goal in seven straight.
The Kings have won the last five meetings -- the last three by one goal -- but they will be without veterans Willie Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky, who are sidelined at least a month with injuries.
Defenseman Drew Doughty, who recently missed six games with a concussion, appeared fine after taking a hard hit from the Stars' Adam Burish. He is expected to play Saturday.
Quick is likely to start and boasts a 3-0-0 record and 1.30 GAA versus New York.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.