Kings go top-shelf multiple times on Islanders to bring home impressive win

Mar 14, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Alex Iafallo (19) celebrates his power play goal scored against the New York Islanders during the second period at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Alex Iafallo (19) celebrates his power play goal scored against the New York Islanders during the second period at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Islanders strolled into Arena last night to play the Los Angeles Kings for the second game of LA’s seven-game homestand. Coming into the matchup, the Kings were 38-20-9, while the Islanders were 34-26-8.

With the Western Conference much more of an open field, the Kings currently sit at second in the Pacific Division, while the Islanders sit at fifth in the Metropolitan Division, in the Eastern Conference, behind three potential Stanley Cup favorites and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who can never be written off as long as they have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang.

The Kings are in a prime position to make it to the playoffs at this point as long as they maintain the stride they are on. Right now, they are without the team’s point-leader, Kevin Fiala and right-handed defenseman Sean Durzi.

According to The Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein, it is likely that Kevin Fiala could be back on the ice this weekend.

Having Fiala back on the ice would be a huge advantage for the Kings as they inch closer and closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As for last night, they were without the 5-foot-10 left winger, but his absence did not seem to slow the Kings down at all as they went on to easily handle the Islanders 5-2.

First Period: NYI 1, LAK 0

Newly-acquired Pierre Engvall of the Islanders opened up the scoreboard with a wrister off of a broken play in the neutral zone. Sean Walker tried to clear the puck out of the Kings’ zone, but it went right to Ryan Pulock of the Islanders, who caught it out of mid-air and dropped it on the ice. He passed it up to Pierre Engvall who had an open line of ice all the way to the net.

This caught Joonas Korpisalo off guard and it resulted in a 1-0 Islanders lead. Engvall’s wrister was the only goal of the entire period. What would be a quiet 20-minutes for the Kings offensively did not last long as they went into the second period.

Second Period: LAK 4, NYI 2

In the opening minutes of the second period, off a faceoff in the Islanders’ zone, the puck gets out to Kings’ defenseman Sean Walker, who fires it on net from near the blue line, and Blake Lizotte gets a piece of it mid-air to redirect it top-shelf into the back of the net past Ilya Sorokin.

That goal marked Lizotte’s 10th goal of the year and his 30th total point. Not a bad year for a perennial bottom-six player. A few minutes later after a string of penalties, the Kings held a 5-on-3 advantage, which led to a slapshot goal from defenseman Drew Doughty off a primary assist from Anze Kopitar and a secondary assist from Adrian Kempe.

Exactly one minute later, Los Angeles still had a man-advantage for about six more seconds when Viktor Arvidsson fired a wrister on net that hit the far corner of the pipe and slid around the top of the net and popped out on the other side right where Alex Iafallo was standing. Iafallo controlled it with his body and put it in the back of the net for an easy goal.

Now, the Kings are up by a goal, 2-1. However, it did not take them long to continue to expand their lead. Later in the period, the Islanders were attempting to clear the puck out of their zone, but failed to do so. Isles’ defenseman Noah Dobson attempted to clear the puck on the right side of the rink, but it was intercepted by Kings’ defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.

Gavrikov passed it to a streaking Phillip Danault who sent a crisp backhand pass to Trevor Moore. Moore fired it in top-shelf on Sorokin, giving the Kings a 3-1 lead.

Then, with about three minutes to go, Sebastian Aho released a clap-bomb from just inside the blue line and it found its way to Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s stick, who tipped it in for the goal. Now, the score was 4-2 heading into the final period.

Third Period: LAK 5, NYI 2

After an impressive offensive showing for the Kings in the second period, heading into the final twenty minutes the game slowed down as a whole. Defense was the name of the game for both teams in the third period and it wasn’t until the closing minute that another goal occurred. Quinton Byfield came back onto the ice after taking a minor penalty with three minutes to go for sending the puck over the glass.

He came back on the ice, picked up a loose puck by the boards, and skated with a clear line of sight to an empty net. That was only his third goal of the season for the former No. 2 overall pick, but there is no doubt he will be a cornerstone of this franchise for years to come.

The Kings came out of that game with an impressive 5-2 win over a team with one of the best goaltenders in the league this season. But, the Isles could not overcome the explosive second period Los Angeles had. Next up for the Kings are the Columbus Blue Jackets who come to Arena on Thursday March 16, 2023 at 7:30 PM PT.