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Rapid Reaction: Islanders Bend The Knee, Lose 3-2 to Kings

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New York Islanders

ELMONT— The New York Islanders were defeated by the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night by a score of 3-2. The Islanders are now 15-15-6, with an 8-8-3 record at UBS Arena.

How it Happened

Los Angeles Kings took a 1-0 lead as forward Quinton Byfield beat New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov over the glove with just under three minutes to play in the first period. Andreas Athanasiou and Dustin Brown were credited with the assists on Byfield’s first career NHL goal at 17:05 of the first period.

Andreas Athanasiou made it a 2-0 game with six seconds to go in the second period as his wrist shot caught Semyon Varlamov off his angle as he beat him high glove side. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown were credited with the assists on Athanasiou’s fourth of the season.

Mathew Barzal ended Petersen’s shutout with 2:04 to go in the third period, as his shot from the left corner beat the Kings netminder high glove side to make it a 2-1 contest. Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey were credited with the assists on Barzal’s ninth of the season.

Adrian Kempe scored an empty-net goal with 35.5 seconds to play in the third to give the Kings a 3-1 lead. His 18th of the season was assisted by Anze Kopitar and Tyler Moore.

Casey Cizikas beat Petersen in-tight to make it a 3-2 game with 19.3 seconds to play in the third. Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck were credited with the assists on Cizikas’s third of the season.

Barzal or Nothing

The New York Islanders never got going against the Los Angeles Kings. They were held to three shots in the first period, before upping that number to 16 through two periods.

The Islanders ended the contest with 25 shots on goal.

Islanders forward Mathew Barzal seemed to be the only player creating chances. He set up teammates left and right and had two shots of his own.

He scored the Islanders first goal with 2:04 to play in the third period.

One of the better looks for the Islanders came in the second period as Barzal created space before he fed Josh Bailey in the slot for a one-timer opportunity. Bailey’s shot hit Kings netminder Cal Petersen directly in the chest.

Varlamov Makes Costly Mistake

New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov was shaky early in the 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs back on Saturday. Despite allowing a goal in the first period, where there was a partial screen, Varlamov had a strong start to the contests.

But in the dying seconds of the second period, with six seconds remaining, Los Angeles Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou caught Varlamov way off his angle to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.

These are the goals against stronger teams that make it rather difficult to collect points, especially with the way the Islanders offense has played this season.

Byfield Scores First NHL Goal

Quinton Byfield, the Los Angeles Kings second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, picked up his first career National Hockey League goal in his 10th career NHL game.

He played six games up with the Kings back in 2020-21 as he picked up an assist against the Arizona Coyotes back on May 5 of 2021.

He became the 194th player to score their first career goal against the New York Islanders.

Postgame Quotes From Casey Cizikas, Anders Lee, Scott Mayfield, and Barry Trotz:

“They were sitting back, making it tough to get through the neutral zone.  They were really good at breaking out the puck, making those small areas plays. We get in there but they find a way to kind of just make that small play and get into the neutral zone and just kinda sit back again and wait for the opportunities.”—Casey Cizikas

“We did have a lot of chances after going down one nothing and they didn’t go in. Obviously, they played a pretty stingy game and there wasn’t a whole lot either way. They get one late in the second to make it a tougher third period for us but our push was there. We just didn’t put the puck in.”—Anders Lee

“When we were in the hole, I think .500 was a benchmark that we looked at and we were able to get there. But yeah, it’s been tough. It’s been just back and forth. Get one game ahead and then right back to it. We got to put some together here.”—Scott Mayfield

“LA had nothing tonight. They really didn’t have much and I thought we generate a little bit more. They’ve defended well, they clogged it up. They defended well. And it was hard to generate. They were looking for a low-scoring game and we generally do. We’re not going to trade chances with some of the teams but we’ve got to put the puck in play.”—Barry Trotz

Game Notes: 

Prior to warmups, the New York Islanders activated Kyle Palmieri out of IR and placed Austin Czarnik in IR (lower-body, retro Jan 22.).

Kieffer Bellows was a healthy scratch with Kyle Palmieri back, along with Ross Johnston, Sebastian Aho, and Ryan Pulock.

Ryan Pulock (LTIR) was back on the practice ice Thursday morning, the first time he has skated with his teammates since his injury on Nov. 15 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Up Next: The New York Islanders will host the Seattle Kraken Saturday, Jan. 29 at UBS Arena.

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