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New York Islanders

Islanders Shutout By Kings Backup Goalie; Winning Streak Snapped



AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

All good things must come to an end.

The New York Islanders had their season-long, six-game winning streak snapped on Monday night, falling 3-0 to the Los Angeles Kings at Arena as Kings backup netminder David Rittich made 26 saves in a shutout performance for Los Angeles.

Skating for the second time in as many nights, the Islanders managed to hang around against the Kings. They entered the final period trailing by just one after Adrian Kempe’s opening goal, which also proved to be the game-winner.

“We played a good hockey game here,” Islanders head coach Patrick told reporters in Los Angeles. “It was a one-nothing game until midway through the third period. I’m very pleased with the effort and the backchecking. We compete with them. It was playoff hockey.”

Phillip Danault put the game out of reach when he took advantage of some weak defense by Noah Dobson in front of the net, easily tapping a puck past Ilya Sorokin for a goal that made it 2-0 at 6:07 of the third period.

Sorokin finished the evening with 22 saves on 24 shots for the Islanders and watched from the bench when Kings forward Trevor Moore hit an empty net late in the game.

It was somewhat surprising that the usually aggressive Roy waited as long as he did to call Sorokin back to the bench in favor of an extra attacker.

Roy has been known to pull his goalie early with his team trailing. He has done so with the Islanders at earlier points this season and seemed to have the opportunity to do so when Kings forward Trevor Lewis took a tripping penalty with seven minutes remaining. But instead of having the Islanders play with a six-on-four man advantage while down two goals, Roy opted to keep Sorokin on the ice.

The power play ended without a goal for the Islanders and was their fifth and final failed chance of the night.

The best scoring opportunity for the Islanders came in the first while playing at five-on-three. That chance was short-lived, though, as Mathew Barzal was called for a questionable slash for attempting to dig the puck out from underneath the belly of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.

“If our power play was clicking, maybe it would have made a difference,” Roy said. “We need more traffic in front of the net. When the puck doesn’t move as well as we wish on the power play, we need to do things a little differently and put more traffic in front of the net [instead of] trying to be fancy and playing around.”

As poor as their performance on the power play was, the Islanders rarely challenged Rittich in net otherwise, who picked up his second shutout of the season.

“We were trying to break in as best we could, but they played well defensively,” Hudson Fasching said. “You got to give them credit where credit is due there. We had to find a way to break them down. We tried to hold the puck in their end, but they played stingy.”

Fasching was back in the Islanders’ lineup for the first time since Jan. 25, replacing Matt Martin, who was made a late scratch prior to puck drop. Martin is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and his status for the Islanders’ next game is uncertain.

At 28-21-14, the Islanders will complete their four-game road trip on Thursday in Buffalo against the Sabres.




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