LOS ANGELES, CA – Darryl Sutter caught attention with a surprising decision to give Martin Jones crease duties for the second straight game.
Someone’s looking smart.
Martin Jones snagged his first career NHL shutout tonight in what was his second career NHL game. Jones stopped all 16 shots he faced, and the Kings glided their way to a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders.
It took a while, but the Kings’ offense was able to support Jones’ collected play in the crease.
Anze Kopitar struck first, burying a beauty that beat Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin to the top right corner with 7:52 remaining in the second period. It was Kopitar’s eighth goal of the season. Alec Martinez fed Kopitar a wonderful pass that allowed him to use his speed when entering the zone, and going against the grain with his shot.
Dustin Brown tucked home the Kings’ second marker of the night with 9:23 remaining in regulation, turning a botched possession into a goal. It was Brown’s sixth goal of the season, and his 399th career NHL point.
Tyler Toffoli chipped in with en empty-netter with 1:02 left to play, all but putting tonight’s contest to rest.
Martin Jones has won both of his first two career NHL starts, stopping 42 of the combined 44 shots he faced tonight against the Islanders, and Wednesday night against the Ducks.
The Kings continue to roll, and are now 10-1-4 in their previous 15 games. In that span they’ve outscored opponents 35-20, and have not allowed more than two goals in a single game.
The power play continues to struggle, as the Kings were unable to execute on any of their five man-advantage opportunities against the Islanders penalty kill unit, which is dead last in the NHL.
The penalty kill, however, continues to strive. The Kings killed off all four of New York’s power plays tonight, and have killed 46 of their last 49 penalties, dating back to November 14th.
The Kings are now 19-7-4, which is good for 42 points, and currently sit at fourth-place in the Western Conference. The Kings will head to Montreal, QC to skate with the Canadians for their next contest on Tuesday.
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