Quick stops 28 shots in 2-1 win over Islanders
By IRA PODELL
AP Hockey Writer
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- If five games is an indication, the Los Angeles Kings have found something special with their new-look No. 1 line.
With Ryan Smyth joining holdovers Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, the
Kings are off to a quick start. Since an opening-night loss to Phoenix,
Los Angeles has won four straight -- the latest a 2-1 victory over the
New York Islanders on Monday.
"It's a great
feeling, but we don't want to ride our highs too high and our lows too
low," said Smyth, acquired from Colorado in an offseason trade. "We
want to stay pretty even keel and enjoy our time."
Kopitar and Smyth, who assisted on Kopitar's second-period, power-play
goal that broke a scoreless tie, have at least one point in all five
games. With Williams, the trio has combined for nine goals and 14
"We were put together right off
the bat in training camp," Kopitar said. "Ryan is experienced enough
and Justin is experienced enough that they know what it takes to get
the chemistry going.
"It's just a good mixture on the line. We're clicking pretty good and hopefully we can keep it going."
Add in good young defenseman Drew Doughty, who pushed the lead to 2-0
in the third, and emerging goalie Jon Quick, the Kings seem to be
building for a bright future.
has played every minute in the first five games, was rarely tested and
finished with 28 saves. He fell 1:55 short of his fifth NHL shutout
when Matt Moulson scored his second of the season.
"He is playing better every game," Kings coach Terry Murray said of
Quick. "They had a couple of opportunities in the early part of the
game where he came up with big glove saves.
"We tried to keep things at 2-0, but they've got some good young players. They found a way to score and make it interesting."
The Kings held on and improved to 2-0 on a six-game trip that began
with a 2-1 win at St. Louis on Saturday. Los Angeles killed all three
Islanders power plays, including one in the third period.
"We're doing the little things right and that means getting the pucks
in and out at the right times down deep and then making teams come 200
feet," Smyth said. "Our power play is clicking, but as of late our
(penalty-killing) has been doing an excellent job, too."
New York (0-1-3) is still seeking its first win after starting the
season with three overtime losses, two by shootout. The Islanders led
two of those games in the third period, including blowing a three-goal
lead late at Boston on Saturday.
Martin Biron made 20 saves and is one win from 200 in the NHL.
"No, we don't have to keep their morale up, we have to kick them in the
butt and go play 60 minutes," Islanders captain Doug Weight said of his
young teammates. "There is going to be a learning curve to a lot of
aspects of the game with any young team, we know that, but this is
hockey we have a system we have to play.
"There are no smoke and mirrors with our team. We know what we have to do. We have to play pretty perfect for 60 minutes."
Kopitar scored his fourth goal of the season with 1:27 left in the second.
Islanders defenseman Mark Streit lost the puck behind the net, and
Kopitar ended up with it and came out to Biron's right. He moved the
puck with a short pass to Williams before getting it back in the right
circle. Kopitar patiently waited for an opening and snapped a wrist
shot for the goal with 6 seconds left on Blake Comeau's hooking penalty.
Doughty, a defenseman taken No. 2 overall in the 2008 draft, made it
2-0 at 5:31 of the third when he fired a slap shot from just above the
right circle past Biron. He has a five-game point streak, notching two
goals and four assists in the career-best run.
Williams has 12 assists and 22 points in 29 games against the
Islanders. His next assist will be his 200th in the NHL. ... Quick went
3-0 and stopped 80 of 88 shots last week. ... John Tavares, the top
pick in this year's draft by the Islanders, failed to earn a point for
the first time. He had two goals and three assists in New York's first
three games. ... The Islanders held an 11-4 shots advantage in the
first period. ... Weight returned after sitting out at Boston due to a
groin injury that has limited him to two games this season.