Montoya, Islanders blank Kings
Matt Moulson could hardly contain his smile.
After all, it’s not often a player scores two goals against his brother-in-law in the NHL. Talk about family bragging rights.
Moulson got the better of Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, and Al Montoya made 35 saves in his first NHL start in nearly two year sin the New York Islanders’ 3-0 victory Saturday night.
”It was lucky to get a couple on him,” Moulson said. ”We had a dinner (Friday). He wouldn’t let me cook. He thought I was going to put something in there.”
Quick, who made 20 saves, was not interested in discussing the family dynamic, saying the games was a ”tough one to lose as a team.”
”We just have to regroup,” he added. ”The Islanders have a lot of speed and some good playmakers.”
Frans Nielsen also scored for New York, which has won six of the 10 games it has played in February.
Montoya was sharp, making 28 saves in the final two periods, for his second career shutout in his first start in the NHL since April 9, 2009, while with Phoenix. Montoya, a former sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Rangers, benefited from strong defensive zone play from Travis Hamonic.
Los Angeles lost in regulation for the first time in nine games (5-1-3) during its 10-game road trip, which concludes Wednesday at Anaheim.
”We had a very good road trip,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. ”We have one more game and then we get back home. When you see players not making plays, you could say the road trip was a little long.”
Nielsen opened the scoring with a short-handed goal 5:01 into the first period. Michael Grabner intercepted Jack Johnson’s pass attempt to Drew Doughty and sped up the right-wing boards before feeding Nielsen for the quick snap shot in the high slot that beat Quick – who was screened by Johnson on the play.
”I’ve seen Franzie for a while, so I know what he can do,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ”The other guy is going pretty good right now. He’s utilizing his strength right now, which is his speed. Franzie is a very intelligent hockey player. He sees where Grabs is going and is putting pucks into areas where Michael can skate.”
Grabner, who won the NHL’s fastest man competition during the All-Star weekend, used his speed to create a power play for the Islanders when he forced Alec Martinez to take a holding penalty in order to prevent a breakaway 1:33 later.
”I think Franzie played a strong game, too. We had a lot of chances,” Grabner said. ”I try to use my speed to back them up or create some offense.”
Moulson snapped a shot over Quick’s glove 6:54 into the second period to increase the Islanders’ lead to 2-0. The wives of Moulson and Quick are sisters, and Moulson got some more family bragging rights with 6:20 remaining when he made it 3-0 with a shot over Quick’s stick.
John Tavares recorded an assist on both of Moulson’s goals. Tavares has 51 points this season. He finished his rookie year with 54 points. P.A. Parenteau, who was signed to a one-year, $1.25 million extension on Thursday, also assisted on both of Moulson’s goals.
Montoya, a former sixth overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Rangers, benefited from strong defensive zone play from Travis Hamonic.
Hamonic was matched up against former Islanders forward Ryan Smyth and Anze Kopitar for much of the game.
”Obviously that Kopitar line, it’s three very big guys who skate very well and are strong,” Hamonic said. ”They like to use their bodies. For (he and linemate Andrew MacDonald), we really have to make sure we’re positionally sound. We need to know who we’re playing against and what their tendencies are.”
Notes: The Islanders lost 5-1 at Los Angeles on Nov. 13, Scott Gordon’s last game as New York’s coach before being replaced by Capuano. The Islanders have won 18 of the 42 games played since the coaching change. … Smyth was booed each time he touched the puck. The Islanders acquired Smyth in a trade in 2007, and was instrumental in the organization reaching the playoffs that spring, as he recorded 15 points in 18 regular-season games. However, he eschewed re-signing with the organization that summer, deciding to accept a five-year, $31.25 offer with Colorado. … The attendance was announced as 13,119. It was tied for the fourth-largest crowd at the Coliseum this season.