The LA Kings returned to winning ways with a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday evening at Crypto.com Arena.
The Kings got goals from five different players in the victory – Quinton Byfield, Drew Doughty, Alex Iafallo Blake Lizotte, Trevor Moore – and points from 14 different skaters, with defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (0-2-2) the only player with multiple assists. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo improved to 3-0 with the Kings, as he made 26 saves on 28 shots faced.
New York scored the lone goal from the first period to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Defenseman Ryan Pulock sprung forward Pierre Engvall into a 1-on-1 situation and the former Toronto Maple Leaf pulled the puck to his forehand in the slot and fired past Korpisalo for the game-opening goal.
The Kings equalized less than two minutes into the second period, through Lizotte, to tie the game at one. Off a won faceoff by Lizotte, the puck found Sean Walker at the left point and he fired toward the net, with Lizotte getting the deflection on the way through. Lizotte’s goal was his tenth of the season, matching his career-high from a season ago.
Taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play, the Kings struck twice to open up a 3-1 lead midway through the second frame.
First, on a two-man advantage, forward Anze Kopitar hesitated and fed Doughty in his wheelhouse, with the veteran defenseman hammering the one-timer past Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin for the go-ahead goal. Iafallo made it 3-1 59 seconds later, the team’s second power-play goal of the night. Forward Viktor Arvidsson fired off the post, with his rebound deflecting off of Iafallo’s chest, right to his stick and into the net for his tenth goal of the season.
Moore made it 4-1 just past the midway point of the middle stanza, his first goal since returning from injury. After Gavrikov held the puck in at the left point, forward Phillip Danault found his linemate, Moore, in the slot, where he made no mistake for his eighth goal of the season, his first since December 1 versus Arizona.
The Islanders added one late in the second period, pushing the score to 4-2 through 40 minutes of play. Just two seconds after a power play expired, defenseman Sebastian Aho found forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau in front, where the latter redirected the slap-pass into the back of the net, cutting the LA advantage to two goals at the break.
After the third period came and went without a goal for 19-plus minutes, Byfield iced the game with a late empty-net goal, coming out of the penalty box, collecting the puck from defenseman Matt Roy and picking the empty net for his third goal of the season.
Hear from Arvidsson, Moore and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.
Arvidsson speaks with the media following the game tonight in LA🎙@LAKings | #LAKingsLive pic.twitter.com/MOruyg0buw
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) March 15, 2023
On the relief and joy he showed after scoring his goal in the second period
For sure, you’ve just got to take it day-by-day, but it weighs on you when you don’t get one for a while and then getting hurt being out for a long time, it feels like maybe you’ll never score again. Just to be able to get one and know that you can still do it is a nice feeling.
On if this time coming back was easier than the first
Yeah, I was able to skate and keep my legs this time, which has been positive. Last time, I had that week and a half over the All-Star break, which was good, but I couldn’t practice with the team. This time has been better for sure.
On seeing improvements on the power play this season
It’s huge. Last year we relied on our 5-on-5 game and we still have to rely on it, we still have to be a better 5-on-5 team, but now we have the added boost of having really good special teams. I think it’s been great.
On getting contributions from throughout the lineup tonight
I think we have to play that way if we want to go deep. If you look at teams who do go deep, it’s not one or two lines, you need everybody. It’s all six defensemen and it’s all four lines.
On if he saw the things the team practiced show up on the power play tonight
Yeah, and let’s face it, we didn’t reinvent the power play, we just got a little sharper and a little faster. I’m not even sure how we really do it, we try and convince the players that they’re just a fraction slower than what they were in the past. Whether it’s done through video or conversation, today they moved the puck a little bit quicker. Pretty good penalty kill on that squad, so to score two, we’re fortunate.
On seeing connectivity improve between the first and second periods
We talked about it between periods. We were, I thought, excellent below the goal line to the hashmarks on our breakouts, we were connected there, it was the next play and often that’s on your forwards for just getting casual or sloppy. We fixed it and the guys did a good job in the second and third. They had a pretty good idea of how we were going to play the game and they forechecked well against it, so we really had to work exceptionally hard just to get out of our end, but the guys did a good job of it.
On seeing Trevor Moore score that goal, after all the work he’s put in
I think the look on his face was joy and happiness, of course, but a lot of relief too. Just to give you an idea of how important he is to to our team and to our group, everybody’s really happy for him. You know, we always get excited for for a goal, but that was a special goal, it’s one that’s been coming for a while.
On finding four goals tonight against a top-tier goaltender and a structured team
We talked about being direct and maybe releasing the shot before we really had to. Take Walker’s shot [on Lizotte’s goal], for example, had he waited just a fraction longer for all the traffic to get there. Then, there are some things that we needed to do in and around the net, they box out really well, so you’ve got to find a way to stay in a goaltender’s eyes, but get loose and it’s not easy. We did a bit of work on that in practice yesterday and I thought it paid off.
On the concept of stats and if he’d like more national hype around his team
We’re fine where we are. Here’s what I know, stats can work for or against you based on the day you pick them. So, you can pick January 27 and if you go to the 25th, there are four teams with more points. We do the same thing with the power play, when we want them confident, we go back to the two goals we scored and hey, we’re 2-for-20 instead of 0-for-18. It’s just about us doing what we do, day after day after day, rinse and repeat. Simple.
– Blake Lizotte scored his 10th goal of the season, tying his single season career-high, previously set in the 2021-22 season. With his goal, Lizotte reached the 30-point mark for the first time in his career (10-20-30).
– Drew Doughty tallied his fourth goal of the year, surpassing Oliver Ekman-Larsson for sole possession of 10th place in goals among active defensemen (136).
– Doughty and Anze Kopitar both factored on the same goal for the 285th time in the regular season, which is the third highest such total by a pair of teammates in franchise history behind Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor (476x) as well as Kopitar and Dustin Brown (305x). Kopitar’s assist was his 396th career power-play point, surpassing Jari Kurri for sole possession of 64th all time in NHL history in the category.
– Alex Iafallo scored his 10th goal of the season. Iafallo now sits four points from 200 in his NHL career (81-115-196).
– Trevor Moore scored his eighth goal of the season, his first since December 1. Moore has now totaled four points in his last three games against the New York Islanders (2-2-4).
– Quinton Byfield (1-0-1) netted his third goal of the season, his first since January 21. Byfield now has six points (1-5-6) over his last seven games.
– Adrian Kempe recorded his 20th assist of the season, marking the third time in his career he has reached the 20-assist mark in a single NHL season (2017-18, 2019-20). Kempe has now scored six points in his last five games. (4-2-6).
– Vladislav Gavrikov (0-2-2) earned his first multi-point effort as a member of the LA Kings to give him four points over his last four games (1-3-4).
– Fourteen different skaters tallied a point tonight for the Kings, marking a new season high. The last time 14 Kings skaters earned a point in a game was Nov. 8, 2016 vs. Toronto.
– Joonas Korpisalo stopped 26-of-28 shots, improving to 3-0-0 as an LA King and 14-11-3 on the season. In doing so, Korpisalo the sixth netminder in franchise history to earn wins in each of his first three appearances with the Kings and the first since Jhonas Enroth (3GP, Oct 22 – Nov. 12, 2015).
– Alexander Edler (103-334-437 in 1,022 GP) tied Fredrik Olausson (1,022 GP) for the fifth most games played by a Swedish-born defenseman in NHL history. The only others with more: Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564 GP), Borje Salming (1,148 GP), Calle Johansson (1,109 GP) and Ulf Samuelsson (1,080 GP).
– The Kings extended their home point streak to eight games (7-0-1). The team has also earned points in each of their last seven games dating back to Feb. 28 (6-5 SO W at WPG).
The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow morning at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.
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