The Upshot: The NY Islanders fight back in a come-from-behind victory against the LA Kings

Dec 9, 2023; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) and Los
Dec 9, 2023; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) and Los / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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2. 67. Final/. 3. 106. isles kings 2

HOW IT HAPPENED

On a day when Los Angeles was the talk of the sports world with Shohei Ohtani agreeing to join the Dodgers on a 10-year $700M contract, the LA Kings were on the verge of extending their road winning streak to start the season to 12 games. Entering the third period down two goals, the NY Islanders flipped the narrative on third period comebacks with a comeback of their own. The Isles had trouble generating offense against the best defensive team in the league until Anders Lee kick-started the momentum in the third period. Down 2-0 with under twelve minutes remaining, Lee got the Isles on the scoreboard with his sixth of the season. From there, the Isles dominated play before Lee potted his second of the night to even things up at two. Heading into OT for the tenth time this season, JG Pageau made his way behind the Kings' defense, receiving a pass from Simon Holmstrom, ending the game on a breakaway thirteen seconds in.

“He made a great hockey read," said Pageau regarding Holmstrom's pass. I've said it for a while now, I think he's making me better when I play with him, and he makes the players that are on his line better. He made a hell of a read."

WHAT WENT RIGHT

While the offense wasn't clicking for nearly 50 minutes, the Isles stood their ground defensively, limiting the league's highest-scoring team to two goals and restricting their opportunities all night. A team that has found every way imaginable to blow leads in the third period all season dug deep pulling off a comeback of their own. Ilya Sorokin made some key saves to keep them in the game, with the most critical coming on an Adrian Kempe breakaway with under four minutes remaining. With three defensemen in the linuep who weren't on the opening night roster, Samuel Bolduc, Mike Reilly, and Robert Bortuzzo all held their ground against one of the league's top teams.

"We felt like we were gonna win the hockey game," said Lane Lambert on his team's mentality during the second intermission. "Because we had been playing well. You know, stay out of the penalty box and give ourselves a chance and I thought we did that in the third period."

WHAT WENT WRONG

The offense was missing for two and a half periods before breaking out in the final 12. Mat Barzal took a big hit from Andreas Englund, putting a scare into the UBS Arena crowd. Taking a moment to get back to his feet, Barzal was fine, but both Bo Horvat and Scott Mayfield were willing to drop the gloves to defend their star before Mayfield was the one who ultimately went blow-to-blow with Englund.

STATS OF THE GAME

  • The Kings' OT loss was the first time they've dropped points this season, as they're now 11-0-1 in 12 games away from Crypto.com arena.
  • The Isles now have points in 11 of their last 12 games
  • Ilya Sorokin was the winning netminder in OT for the first time this season
  • Mike Reilly's assist on Lee's first goal was his fourth point in five games with the Isles.

SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME

A bearded Boruzzo following Lou Lamoriello's rules. Bortuzzo sports a clean look after Johnny Boychuck hand-delivered him some shaving cream. Bortuzzo played 16:03 in his Islanders debut

WHAT'S NEXT

The Isles play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, with an earlier start time of 7:00 PM EST.