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Kings @ Islanders Recap: The Rookies Do It Again in 3-2 Comeback Win

Combined games for Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, and Tanner Pearson this season: 10.

Combined points for Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey, and Tanner Pearson this season: 11.

Tonight, Darryl Sutter put the three young Los Angeles Kings forwards on the ice together during the game’s final power play, and they scored to tie the game. He did it again in the final two minutes, and they scored to beat the New York Islanders. Not bad for their first game together in Kings’ uniforms.

[Box Score]

I’m not sure the three periods tonight could have been any more different. The first featured some good stretches by the Kings; namely, the first five or six minutes of the game. The Kings didn’t actually get any scoring chances during that stretch., but they held and cycled the puck, forcing the Islanders to ice it repeatedly just to get a break. New York wasn’t really able to scramble back into the game until a short power play, when John Tavares and Co. put Colin Fraser, Linden Vey, Slava Voynov, and Robyn Regehr on their heels. In the final 9:58 of the first, the Kings only had one shot on goal, and though the Islanders didn’t do much either, they carried some semblance of momentum into the second.

That’s when it got ugly for the Kings. Two minutes into the second, the Islanders had a slightly threatening forecheck going against the Kings’ freshly minted third line of Pearson, Vey, and Toffoli. The puck bounced towards Josh Bailey in front, but Willie Mitchell had Bailey tied up and the puck got through to Scrivens, who could only attempt to kick it out. Casey Cizikas got to the puck before anyone else and shot it at the wide-open net, and the glove of Ben Scrivens couldn’t keep it out. Two minutes later, LA got a rush the other way, but Matt Frattin shot the puck wide and four Kings were caught up ice as the Islanders went the other way. Doughty managed to get to the puck first, but John Tavares got there next and slid an inch-perfect pass to Aaron Ness . Ness one-timed it past Scrivens to give the Isles a 2-0 lead.

Dwight King followed up with a penalty for being in the general vicinity of Poulin when Thomas Hickey inadvertently speared him. Poulin, of course, did his part by producing a flop so theatrical that King was left chuckling on his way to the box. The Kings killed that penalty successfully, but their own power play (after an irritated Cal Clutterbuck charged Robyn Regehr) went for naught. Regehr had himself a good game tonight; unfortunately, the same could not be said for Slava Voynov, who was really sloppy in the first two periods.

So of course Slava would get the first Kings goal! Kevin Poulin resisted for a while, stopping Mike Richards on a shorthanded breakaway and making a stunning glove save on Jake Muzzin. Justin Williams, then Anze Kopitar, worked the forecheck behind the net soon after, and Kopitar fed Voynov off to the side of the net. Most of the time, you see a King in this position look for a pass or go around the net; however, Voynov said “screw it” and blasted the puck through Poulin. After struggling the whole game to get scoring chances, the Kings had all the scoring chances in the world in the final frame, and Poulin finally started playing like an unheralded goalie after a few more saves.

Los Angeles got one final chance against the Islanders’ 30th-ranked power play and took advantage, but it took an inspired decision by Darryl Sutter to get the equalizer. (Inspired, in the sense that he was probably inspired by hundreds of Kings fans begging for this particular line combo on Twitter.) Yep, it was the reunion of Manchester’s White Line: Pearson, Toffoli, and Vey. Slava Voynov carried up ice and had the puck tapped back to him by Vey. Pearson cut across the middle and threw a wrister at the net. Poulin didn’t quite have the five-hole covered, and the puck trickled over the goal line.

Pearson’s first career goal tied the game at 2, and after Drew Doughty nearly gave the game away with a turnover straight to Michael Grabner, the trio picked up the game-winner with help from Jake Muzzin. Vey again got the secondary assist, and Muzzin took a low shot from the point. Toffoli was well-positioned in front, and his deflection was perfectly placed in the top corner past Poulin. Excitement ensued, including some Pearson grinning (that guy’s smile could attain Dwight King levels of fame soon), and the Kings held on for the win.

… Man, I don’t envy Dean Lombardi having to make roster choices once the other Kings come back from injury. For now? Enjoy the ride.

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