NEW YORK (AP) — Andreas Athanasiou scored and assisted on Quinton Byfield’s first NHL goal in his return from a long injury layoff, Cal Peterson made 23 saves and the Los Angeles Kings held off the New York Islanders 3-2 on Thursday night.
Adrian Kempe had an empty-net goal for the Kings, who won for the second time in three games against New York-area teams to start a six-game road trip.
Peterson, who improved to 10-6-1 on the season, also defeated the New Jersey Devils last Sunday. The Kings lost to the Rangers 3-2 in a shootout on Monday, so Los Angeles has earned five of a possible six points in the three games.
The Islanders finally managed to beat Peterson on Mathew Barzal’s ninth goal at 17:56 of the third.
Kempe scored his empty-netter to restore the two-goal margin at 19:24. Casey Cizikas cut the Islanders’ deficit to 3-2 with 19.3 seconds remaining to complete the scoring.
Byfield opened the scoring with his first NHL goal at 17:05 of the first. The 19-year-old Byfield, a 6-foot-5 forward playing just his fourth game of the season and 10th of his career, fired a low shot past Semyon Varlamov. Byfield was the second overall pick in the 2020 draft after the Rangers took Alexis Lafreniere.
Athanasiou and 37-year-old Dustin Brown — in his 18th season with the Kings — assisted on the goal. Athanasiou was playing for the first time since Dec. 14 after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury.
Athanasiou then scored at 19:54 of the second, his fourth goal of the season. Brown and Kings captain Anze Kopitar assisted.
Brown has 20 points, including six goals, in 41 games this season. He has played 1,273 career games, while the 34-year-old Kopitar leads the Kings with 26 assists and 39 points overall.
Varlamov made 27 saves in defeat.
The Islanders were hosting the Kings for the first time since Feb. 6, 2020, a 5-3 win for New York at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders entered the contest with five straight home wins over Los Angeles; four at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and one at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders are still 10-5-1 in their last 16 games with a 15-15-6 record overall.
After starting the season with a 13-game road trip, New York is playing 10 of 11 games at home before the All-Star break. They are 5-3-0 so far in that stretch, with home games remaining against Seattle, Minnesota and Ottawa before the hiatus.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played his 1,000th game. The 32-year-old defenseman was the second overall pick in the 2008 draft and won two Stanley Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014, and the Norris Trophy in 2015-16. Doughty has 129 goals and 428 assists during his 14-year career. He’s the fifth Kings player to appear in 1,000 games.
Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara, in his 24th NHL season, played in his 1,641st career game. The 44-year-old Chara is 10 games behind Chris Chelios’ record for NHL defensemen. Originally drafted by the Islanders in 1996, Chara is ninth all-time in games played and 586 games ahead of NHL ironman Keith Yandle of Philadelphia, who has played 1,075 total games.
NOTES: The teams meet again Feb. 26 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. ... The Kings scratched forwards Carl Grundstrom and Rasmus Kupari, plus D Jacob Moverare. ... The Islanders scratched forwards Kieffer Bellows and Ross Johnston, plus D Sebastian Aho. They continued to be without injured D Ryan Pulock, who hasn’t played since Nov. 15. ... Islanders D Scott Mayfield played in his 125th consecutive game. Only two other Islanders — forwards Zach Parise and Cal Clutterbuck — have played in all 36 games this season.
Islanders: Host Seattle Kraken on Saturday.
Kings: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.