With great power comes great comeback ability.
The Kings’ power play was like a slot machine that hadn’t paid off in weeks. It got good looks in the first three games of the season but found itself 0 for 16 going into Saturday.
It came alive just in time. Down by a goal, the Kings stormed back on the Buffalo Sabres with man-advantage goals by Dustin Brown, Tyler Toffoli and Drew Doughty for a 4-2 win at Staples Center.
Doughty’s one-timed point shot with two minutes remaining was the game winner, with Brown in front of the net to disrupt the opposition.
“It sounds stupid, [but] we’re really happy with the way the power play was going,” Doughty said. “We were getting really good chances. We just weren’t scoring. Tonight, we decided to stick to the same things. We didn’t want to change anything up. The puck just finally went in for us.”
Brown scored his fourth goal on an in-close backhand swipe of the puck in the second period to help tilt the game. Toffoli’s pinpoint snap shot high on Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner more than seven minutes into the third period gave the Kings a 2-1 lead.
Cheers from the announced crowd of 18,230 fans dissipated two minutes later when Buffalo’s Jack Eichel scored on a second-effort drive to the net. It could have been a different score earlier if not for a remarkable stick save by Jonathan Quick on Seth Griffith early in the second period.
“When he’s doing stuff like that, we can bear down on our scoring chances,” Toffoli said of Quick.
Martinez’s debut took a rough start. He was left back to defend a two-on-one in which Eichel floated a pass that Zemgus Girgensons tapped into the net.
Martinez was also leveled by former teammate Jordan Nolan in Nolan’s first game against the Kings. Nolan received a standing ovation during a video tribute, and former Kings assistant coach and current Buffalo assistant Davis Payne was also recognized.
Buffalo’s first strike represented its first goal at Staples Center since 2010. The Kings carried a string of four straight home shutouts against Buffalo — all 2-0 scores — into Saturday.
But the Kings woke up from another slow start and controlled play by the end of the second period. Alex Iafallo did his part with an adrenaline-filled game that spilled into overzealousness with a second-period holding penalty and subsequent post-whistle shot into Buffalo’s net that quickly drew a crowd of Sabres.
Iafallo, from Eden, N.Y., played against his hometown team for the first time and admitted beforehand he was jazzed. He grew up a Buffalo fan and listed former Sabres Chris Drury and Derek Roy among his favorite players.
“Right in the backyard, go after school to the game, hop over,” Iafallo said.
At the other end of the spectrum was Cammalleri. He has seen scant playing time, especially late in games, and lost his spot on the second power-play unit just three games into the season.
What do the Kings need to see from him to get more ice time?
“I think Cammy is a guy that usually ends up around the puck a lot, and I think he ends up winning a lot of puck battles, stick battles and creating a lot of scoring chances with his hockey intelligence and his tenacity,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “That’s kind of what we’re looking for.”
TONIGHT VS. N.Y. ISLANDERS
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: Jordan Eberle, acquired in a trade, had two assists in his first four games, playing on the top line with John Tavares. Goalie Thomas Greiss played Saturday, so Jaroslav Halak could start.