The New York Islanders got off to another fast start and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Barclays Center Thursday night. John Tavares and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist to pace the Islanders attack while goalie Thomas Greiss made 28 saves to earn the victory.
The Islanders started quickly again, just as they did on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers. Again it was Boychuk who got the Isles going when he beat Kings goalie Jhonas Enroth just 6:05 into the game. Tavares passed Boychuk the puck and the defenseman let a shot fly from just inside the blue line.
The Islanders scored twice in a span of 1:17 midway through the opening period to take a 3-0 lead. First, Cizikas was left unattended in the slot by the Los Angeles defense and put home the rebound of a Matt Martin shot to make it 2-0. Then, Anders Lee deflected home a Nick Leddy shot on the power play and the home team had jumped ahead by three goals just as they had last Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Clifford scored his first goal of the season midway through the opening period to get the Kings back in the game, but Tavares stepped up and answered just 2:20 later to give the Isles a 4-1 lead.
Tavares has three goals and four assists in his last four games and has been very productive since the All-Star Game. None of his teammates are shocked by his increased productivity. “I’m not surprised by what he’s done lately,” Cizikas added. “If you watch him practice, he’s the hardest working guy out there. He’s always doing all these little drills trying to get better and it’s finally paying off for him. He’s being a huge difference maker for us.”
The Kings had some chances in the third period to get back into the game, but Greiss came up with several key saves to maintain the lead for the Islanders.
Milan Lucic scored midway through the third period to get the Kings to within 4-2, but the Islanders held on to the lead and Travis Hamonic’s empty-net, shorthanded goal with 3:25 left iced the Isles third-straight victory.
“We have to keep building off the momentum and take it one game at a time,” Tavares said after the game. “This time of year, there’s so much hockey and we’re playing so many teams, points are critical. We want to keep it going.”
The win helped the Islanders continue their dominance of the Western Conference. The Isles are now 12-0-2 at home against the West and 15-4-2 overall.
The Isles return to action Saturday night when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on the road. Faceoff is at 7:00 PM ET.
Official attendance was 13,643.
Prior to the game, the team observed a moment of silence for former equipment manager Jim Pickard who was with the Islanders from their inception through the dynasty years. Pickard passed away earlier this week at the age of 66.
Kings starting goalie Jonathan Quick was unavailable due to an injury. The Kings called up Peter Budaj to serve as the backup tonight.