LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Los Angeles Kings are the only team in the NHL that hasn’t allowed a power-play goal at home, which helps explain why they are off to a franchise-record 8-0 start at Staples Center.
Anze Kopitar had two goals and an assist, Dustin Brown scored on a penalty shot and the Kings handed the New York Islanders their 10th straight loss with a 5-1 victory Saturday night.
Los Angeles won its first seven home games in 1975-76 and 1980-81 at the Inglewood Forum. The Kings’ longest home winning streak overall is 12, during the 1992-93 campaign. Friday’s win concluded the second 5-0 homestand in club history. The other was in November 1990.
“We’ve been playing really solid hockey,” Brown said. “We’re getting scoring from everyone and good goaltending. In this game, it really comes down to details and everyone making sure they’re doing the right things—especially when you’re playing a team that maybe you’re expected to beat.”
The Kings killed off all five New York power plays, extending their streak of successful penalty kills to 22. Los Angeles has a league-best 92.2 percentage in that department, including 30 flawless short-handed situations at home.
“There’s been some change in the style system, and some detailed parts of the game in the low coverage have been very effective,” coach Terry Murray said. “The great thing is that the guys have a lot of pride in it. It’s hard work and execution, but there’s a lot of pride. When you start sliding and blocking shots and sacrificing yourself and doing the right things, it’s a great commitment. And the goaltending’s been very good, too.”
Justin Williams scored for the sixth time in seven games, defenceman Drew Doughty got his first goal of the season and Jonathan Quick made 18 saves for Los Angeles. The Kings haven’t lost to the Islanders in regulation since Feb. 15, 2003, when Arron Asham had two goals in New York’s 3-2 win at Staples Center.
“It’s just attitude, every night. We’re going to play the same way no matter who we’re playing,” Williams said. “We’ve had some convincing wins and we’ve had some one-goal games that we’ve won. So we’ve shown that we can do it every way.”
This is the Islanders’ ninth double-digit winless streak. Their longest was during their inaugural 1972-73 season, when they were 0-12 with three ties. They won their next game, then followed that with 12 straight losses.
“It’s kind of hard to get into these types of games because you’re expected to win. But by no means was this an easy game,” Kopitar said. “Maybe it seems like that, or maybe the score shows it that way. But they have some skilled players that you have to be aware of at all times, and they battled hard.”
Rob Schremp scored for the Islanders, who ended a season-opening 17-game stretch in which 12 of them were on the road. Only two of those away games resulted in victories, against Toronto and Tampa Bay. They have totalled just eight goals over their last eight games, three of them on power plays. Overall this season, they have been outscored 40-16 when skating 5-on-5.
“Our shots don’t get through. Anything that’s in the way, we seem to hit,” coach Scott Gordon said. “It’s probably us gripping the sticks too tightly and taking too long to get the shot off. This has been a long stretch of road games we’ve been on, and I think it’s factored in a little bit into where we are at right now. We need to go back home and regroup.”
For the ninth time during the Islanders’ victory drought, they gave up the first goal—and it came on the Kings’ first shot on net. Davis Drewiske’s slapshot from the right point struck Brown, but Kopitar played the carom and beat Dwayne Roloson to the glove side at the 1:23 mark.
Kopitar, who led Los Angeles last season with a career-high 34 goals, made it 2-0 at 5:02 with his sixth of the season for his 300th NHL point.
At that point, Gordon burned his only timeout to settle his team. Schremp responded with his first goal of the season 37 seconds later, but the Kings restored their two-goal margin at 3:15 of the second period.
Jack Johnson’s screened wrist shot from just inside the blue line glanced off teammate Jarret Stoll and Roloson made the stop. But he again had difficulty smothering the rebound, and Williams scored his eighth goal to extend his point streak to nine games—tying a career best.
Brown made it 4-1 with his eighth goal, after defenceman Mark Eaton set up the penalty shot by taking down the Kings’ captain from behind on a breakaway with 12:14 to play.
Notes: Quick’s 10-1-0 record represents the best start by a Kings goalie since 1992-93, the only season that the franchise made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Robb Stauber began that season 9-1 with a tie. … Islanders G Rick DiPietro, whose comeback season has started with a 2-3-2 record and 4.21 goals-against average, was the backup for the fifth straight game.