Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Anze Kopitar's goal with 4:23 remaining kept the Los Angeles Kings perfect on an important road trip and lifted the defending Stanley Cup champs to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.
Kopitar's tiebreaking tally helped the Kings record victories over all three New York metro area teams to open their current five-game trek. More importantly, Thursday's result moved the club one point ahead of Calgary and into third place in the Pacific Division.
"We are just looking to get wins," said forward Nick Shore, who notched his first career NHL goal earlier for the Kings. "We've had a great start to this road trip and we're just looking to keep it going."
Tyler Toffoli had a short-handed goal for Los Angeles earlier in the third period, before New York's Johnny Boychuk quickly tied it at 2-2 on the same power play.
Jonathan Quick finished with 25 saves for Los Angeles, now 8-2-2 in its last 12 outings.
The Islanders, on the other hand, have now dropped six of seven despite getting 34 saves out of Jaroslav Halak on Thursday. Frans Nielsen registered New York's initial goal.
Kopitar has played a big part in the Kings' recent hot stretch, generating 15 points over the team's 12-game surge. The talented center made a big impact on this night as well, finding an opening in the Islanders defense before tipping a feed from Andrej Sekera past Halak to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead that Quick made stand over the final four minutes.
"We have eight games left and we have to win a few more of them to get the (playoff) spot," Kopitar said. "It was a great team win."
New York had a chance to move in front when Kings defenseman Andy Greene was sent off on a holding call 1:43 into the third period with the game knotted at 1-1. Los Angeles controlled the ensuing faceoff, though, and Toffoli raced in uncovered to deposit the rebound of Jeff Carter's shot just 12 seconds following the penalty.
"All of a sudden, we try to be fancy, we try to make the sexy plays, and it ends up in the back of the net," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano remarked.
The Islanders were able to regroup while still on the 5-on-4, though, and drew back even when Boychuk got a long slap shot to make its way through traffic at 3:31 of the frame.
After a scoreless opening period in which Halak made 14 saves to keep it so, the Islanders struck first 5:31 into the second. Travis Hamonic intercepted a centering pass from Carter before beginning a 3-on-1 rush that Nielsen finished by ripping a shot over Quick's glove hand.
New York successfully killed off a long 5-on-3 for Los Angeles to maintain the 1-0 edge, but the Kings drew even just moments after the conclusion of the power play on Shore's successful redirection of a Dustin Brown attempt.
Toffoli's short-handed goal was his league-leading fifth this season, snapping a tie he had shared with the Rangers' Rick Nash and Pittsburgh Brandon Sutter ... Kopitar has four goals and 11 assists over L.A.'s last 12 games ... Alec Martinez finished with a pair of assists for Los Angeles ... The Islanders fell to 0-5-1 in their last six games at Nassau Coliseum ... Shore was playing in his 28th career NHL game.