UNIONDALE, NY— Martin Biron brought up the team’s intensity level after the Islanders failed for a fourth straight time to pick up its first victory of the new season.
Biron logged 20 saves and Matt Moulson
scored a late third period goal. But the Isles still fell to the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1, in front of a matinee Nassau Coliseum crowd Monday to fall to
0-1-3. All four defeats have been by a single goal.
“We played safe,” Biron said. “We played an OK game but OK in this league is not going to work. We have to play a little harder and go for it a little bit more.”
The Islanders posted a 29-22 shot advantage and had a chance to tie it at the one-minute mark. Moulson tallied his season’s second goal with 1:55 remaining and the Islanders generated a good scoring chance after pulling Biron for the extra attacker.
Kyle Okposo collected the puck on the penalty-box side boards and fired a cross-ice pass for an open John Tavares. But Tavares, who was open below the right circle, fanned on the chance as the Kings improved to 4-1.
Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty scored for Los Angeles. The contest mark the first time this campaign the Isles failed to pick up a point following a pair of shootout losses and an overtime defeat.
Jonathan Quick registered 28 saves, including all in the first period when the Islanders forged an 11-4 advantage in shots through 20 minutes. The Islanders are winless through the opening four games for the first time since 2000. That club finished the year in last place.
“We don’t have to keep the morale up. We got to kick each other in the butt and go play 60 minutes,” Islanders captain Doug Weight said. “We really controlled the beginning of the game and we’ve done that in a lot of games so far.
“It’s how we react. We need to start reacting better.”
Los Angeles opened the scoring 18:33 into the second period when Justin Williams slid a touch pass to his left for an open Kopitar, who wristed a shot over Biron’s right shoulder for his fourth goal. Former Islander Ryan Smyth, who heard boos nearly every time he touched the puck, picked up the secondary assist on the
power play tally.
Doughty launched a 40-foot shot through traffic to beat a screened Biron 5:31 into the third period for a 2-0 Los Angeles lead. Tavares, the 2009 first overall draft pick, had just one shot while Doughty, the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft, notched his second goal of the season.
The Islanders blew a third period lead against Pittsburgh and squandered a three-goal third-period advantage against Boston in the two shootout losses so far. Okposo said the team needs to eliminate its propensity to produce bad stretches in order to win the close games.
“We need to stop and dig deep in those times and really find a way to win those hockey games,” Okposo said.
Moulson ended Quick’s shutout bid with a backhand shot from the slot that went heavy traffic in front of the crease.
The Kings avoided giving up the lead, improving to 2-0 on its ongoing six-game road trip.
“There’s no smokes and mirrors with our team,” Weight said. “We know what we have to do. We have to play pretty perfect for 60 minutes and we have to be moving.
“Whether it’s the atmosphere of the building or getting down or having a team flurry at us; we haven’t reacted well to it. We just have to get better in those areas. We have to remedy it quick.”
Notes: The announced attendance was 12,145…Islanders forward Joel Rechlicz fought Raitis Ivanans almost midway through the opening period…Smyth, acquired by the Islanders at the 2007 trade deadline before signing as a free agent with Colorado in the subsequent offseason, did not get off a shot in 22:05 of ice time…The scoreboard’s video display malfunctioned six minutes into the second period.