The Kings (22-20-4) started a four-game road trip with a 4-2 loss to the Islanders (19-17-8) at the Barclays Center on Saturday night. Here’s what we learned from the game.
Leave it to Lee
The final box score shows three power-play goals for the Islanders, but that is counting an empty-net score from John Tavares in the final minute. The two legitimate power-play goals were scored by forward Anders Lee in similar fashion.
Lee did all of his power-play damage in front of goalie Peter Budaj, and Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said he warned his team about the 26-year-old’s presence around the crease. Lee’s first goal came off a Tavares rebound and the second, which held as the game-winner, when he redirected a Nick Leddy slap shot in the third period.
The Islanders had not converted on 21 power-play opportunities in their last six games before Saturday. Sutter explained how a handful of players could have helped prevent Lee’s goals.
Anze Kopitar “loses a draw, and then a shot went through him, so he’s in the shooting lane, he’s got to try and block the shot, and [Jake Muzzin] has got to have a read. He’s got to tie [Lee] up,” Sutter said. “The first one’s a little different because it starts a little higher; it’s a little different play, right?
“Kevin [Gravel] in front of the net, he leans towards the diagonal play, and he should lean towards Lee. A little bit of experience there, a little bit of need a better performance from the goalie, that’s for sure.”
Dowd and out
“I mean you guys, you saw it,” Sutter said. “I haven’t talked to him. I mean, literally, he tried it and couldn’t go. I couldn’t see where it was because it was down from our bench, so we’ll see. He was walking.”
Dowd centered a line with Andy Andreoff and Trevor Lewis before exiting the game. The lines were shaken up as a result, but his spot was mostly filled by Kopitar. The 26-year-old Dowd has four goals and 12 assists this season.
The Kings are practicing at Madison Square Garden on Sunday morning in advance of their meeting with the New York Rangers on Monday night.
A pregame swap
Just before the puck dropped Saturday, the Kings announced a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Kings sent forward Michael Latta to the Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Cam Schilling. The 28-year-old Schilling has played 40 games for the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, and has 17 points on the season. He is expected to join the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate. He has appeared in six NHL games in three seasons with the Blackhawks, and 323 career AHL games.
Latta, 25, played in 29 games for the Reign this season and recorded six points (two goals, four assists). He was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.