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Kings rally with three goals in third period

The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Los Angeles Kings' first multi-goal comeback victory of the season came at the most opportune time.

Center Tyler Toffoli scored with 1:27 left on Thursday night to cap a three-goal, third-period comeback and lift the Kings to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Defenseman Slava Voynov and left winger Tanner Pearson scored earlier in the third for the Kings, who received a much-needed boost of momentum in winning the first game they played since franchise goalie Jonathan Quick suffered a Grade 2 groin strain on Tuesday night in the opener of a four-game road trip at Buffalo.

The trip concludes with games against surging New Jersey (3-1 in its last four games) on Friday and the New York Rangers (7-3 in their last 10) on Sunday, so nabbing two points against the Islanders was vital for the Kings, who are already in the midst of a fierce battle for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles' 25 points, which would be second best in the East, are only eighth best in the West, pending the outcome of the late games for St. Louis and Vancouver.

"It's huge. I think we're really excited right now," Toffoli said. "Go tomorrow to Jersey and just kind of ride off our emotions right now."

The Kings' emotions were far different after a second period in which they gave up two goals in a span of 2:14, were outshot 15-5 and were whistled twice for interfering with Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin.

"Just cause it's 2-0 after two doesn't mean we were being outplayed," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I didn't like the officiating in the second period."

But the Kings began seizing the momentum in the opening minute of the third period when they killed off the remainder of the second interference penalty -- the second period in a row in which they killed off a penalty called in the final minute of the preceding period -- and began peppering Poulin.

Los Angeles nearly scored a short-handed goal when center Mike Richards broke free and fired a point-blank shot 30 seconds into the period.

The Kings finally cut the lead in half a little more than five minutes later, when Voynov shed two defensemen, passed to center Anze Kopitar and wriggled free to the right of the Islanders' net, where he snuck a shot under Poulin's armpit.

The Kings tied it on a power play goal by Pearson with 7:45 left. His shot was initially slowed down by Poulin, but the puck trickled over the red line before Poulin could smother it.

"We didn't really play our best game (in the first two periods)," Toffoli said. "We came out in the third and just started pressing. Made a good kill, made them take a couple penalties and Slava scored a huge goal and then Pearson. We just kept pressing and came up big."

Defensively, the Kings clamped down in front of goalie Ben Scrivens -- Quick's replacement who had 23 saves in his second start of the season -- and limited the Islanders to three shots on goal, including none in the frantic final 87 seconds after defensemen Jake Muzzin's shot from the blue line clipped off Toffoli's stick and trickled past Poulin.

"There wasn't a lot of time so I knew (Muzzin) was going to put it on the net," Toffoli said. "I just went to the high slot and got a little piece of it. It was rolling and got a good bounce off my stick."

While the Kings hadn't mounted a multi-goal comeback since March 5 -- when they scored the final five goals in a 6-4 win over St. Louis -- blowing a two-goal lead is nothing new for the Islanders, who could have moved into sole possession of third place in the Metropolitan Division with a win.

The Islanders (7-10-3) also squandered 2-0 leads in home losses to Columbus and Vancouver and have had a lead in seven of their 13 losses.

"It wasn't turnovers, it wasn't puck management, it was just the situation," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "They got some shots to the net. We knew they'd shoot the puck and crash and that's how they got the game-winning goal."

Center Casey Cizikas and defenseman Aaron Ness scored in the second period for the Islanders. It was the first career goal for Ness.

Poulin, making a third straight start for the second time in his career, had 21 saves.

NOTES: Prior to Thursday, the Islanders had not hosted the Kings since Feb. 11, 2012, when they beat Los Angeles 2-1 in overtime. ... The Islanders scratched LWs Eric Boulton and Thomas Vanek and D Radek Martinek. Vanek has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury but skated Wednesday and Thursday and appears likely to return against Detroit on Saturday. ... The Kings scratched LW Daniel Carcillo, G Jonathan Quick and C Jarret Stoll. To replace Quick on the active roster, the Kings recalled G Martin Jones from Manchester of the AHL. ... G Kevin Poulin last made three straight starts for the Islanders from Feb. 18 to Feb. 21, 2012, when he went 1-2-0 against Carolina, Ottawa and Buffalo. ... C John Tavares (hip) played in his 227th straight game, the second-longest streak by an Islanders player since the franchise's last Stanley Cup in 1983. ... Kings C Jeff Carter, who has been on injured reserve since Nov. 1 with a foot injury, was scheduled to see a doctor on Thursday.
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