Game 18; 12-6-1
UNIONDALE, NY – Heading into their Thursday night meeting with the Islanders, the Los Angeles Kings had a few unanswered questions with the news coming earlier in the day that Jonathan Quick would be sidelined for a number of weeks. Through 40 minutes, it seemed as though the Kings were lost. Then the third period happened.
After a scoreless opening frame where Los Angeles outshot the Isles 10-7, they fell behind the 8-ball in the second as the home team turned it on.
First, Casey Cizikas potted his first of the year to put the Islanders up at the 2:44 mark of the second. Then, at the 4:58 mark, the home team took advantage of a defensive lapse by the Kings as John Tavares fed Aaron Ness who made no mistake scoring his first-career NHL goal.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead and outshooting Los Angeles 15-5 in the second, it appeared as if the Islanders were well on their way to winning.
To start the third, however, Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter decided to reunite the young guns of Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson who were successful together in Manchester. The move paid off.
After Slava Voynov’s third got the Kings on the board at the 5:34 mark of the third, Tanner Pearson capitalized on the power play for his first-career NHL goal to tie the game at the 12:11 mark. In addition to Slava Voynov earning his second point of the night with the assist, Linden Vey also recorded an assist.
The score remained tied until the late when, with 1:27 remaining in regulation, Jake Muzzin took a point shot that was tipped by Tyler Toffoli and in to give Los Angeles the late lead – and that is all they needed on this night.
After that second period, it appeared as though the Kings were down-and-out. But once the third started, something sparked and they scored the three goals they needed to, coming up clutch will Ben Scrivens, who wasn’t tested much in the third, certainly earned the win stopping 23 shots, which includes 13 in the middle frame alone.
On the power play, the Kings were 1-for-3 while their penalty killing unit was flawless, preventing the Isles from scoring on all four of their man-advantages.
As for the kids, it was more of the same recent success. In addition to Tyler Toffoli’s game-winner, Linden Vey had a pair of assists while Tanner Pearson, as previously noted, scored his first-career NHL goal.
Overall, a slow start by the Kings but, like in many games this season so far, resiliency played a major role in Los Angeles ending up in the win column.
But there’s no rest for the Kings as they travel across the Hudson for a 2012 Stanley Cup Final rematch with the New Jersey Devils. The action starts on Friday at 7pm EST (4pm PST).