It has been an offensively-frustrating road trip for the Los Angeles Kings, one they will continue this afternoon against a New York Islanders club that failed to post a point for the first time in six games last time out.
The Kings rank dead-last in the NHL with 115 goals and it is safe to say that they would be contenders in the Western Conference if they could just score some goals. Los Angeles is 15-0-1 on the year when scoring three or more goals, but failed to hit that mark on Thursday in Florida.
Drew Doughty managed just a third-period tally for the Kings in a 3-1 loss to the Panthers, two nights after Los Angeles beat hosting Tampa Bay by the same score. Still, the Kings have been held to a mere two goals in the three losses so far on their 1-3-0 six-game road trip that ends in Dallas on Sunday.
"We started the game in the first really well and just couldn't find the back of the net," Kings forward Dustin Brown said. "It was more of the same for us. We have got to find ways to score more goals."
Los Angeles got a rare rough outing from Jonathan Quick, who allowed two goals on 11 shots before getting replaced by Jonathan Bernier. The backup stopped all 11 Panther shots fired his way, though head coach Darryl Sutter was cautious after the game about reading into his goaltending switch.
"Just something different. It's no big deal. I'm not a guy who (usually) pulls my goalies. It's not my style," said Sutter.
While the Kings sit four points back of the first-place Sharks in the Pacific Division, the Islanders are 10 points out of a postseason berth in the East despite a recent season-high five-game point streak (3-0-2) that was halted on Thursday. New York was handed a 4-2 loss by visiting Montreal, getting goals from Matt Moulson and Mark Streit.
"We had some chances on the power play," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "We got pucks to the net late, but it was a little too late."
The Islanders had won six in a row over the Kings before notching a 3-0 shutout at home over them last season. Moulson scored twice and current backup Al Montoya notched 35 saves.
The Kings also lost for the first time in seven trips to Long Island. They had gone 5-0-0 with a tie over the unbeaten streak.