Kyle Okposo would like a word with those who tried writing off the "Same Old Islanders" after their losing streak hit three games on Saturday in San Jose.
"We went on a three-game skid and everybody wanted to hit the panic button," Okposo said. "Not in here, though. We're not the same team we've been."
The Islanders took another big step toward proving that point Thursday night, grabbing a 2-1 shootout win over the Kings at Staples Center. It gave them wins on back-to-back nights in Southern California, a rare feat for any team, much less one that entered dates with the NHL-leading Ducks and defending Stanley Cup champion Kings on a three-game slide.
Okposo and Frans Nielsen converted on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and Chad Johnson stopped the Kings' Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter in the shootout to lift the Islanders to 8-5-0.
After beating the Ducks in overtime 24 hours earlier, the Islanders needed even more energy and effort against Los Angeles -- especially after the Kings grabbed an early lead when Mike Richards banked a toss in front of the net off teammate Dwight King and past Johnson just 3:49 in.
"I think we're mature enough to understand we can get right back in the game," said Johnson, who was superb in making 28 saves, plus two in the shootout, for his fourth win of the season. "It was good to see us rebound from a fluky goal like that."
Brock Nelson's power-play goal from a sharp angle tied the score at 16:32 of the first and the Islanders were the better, faster team for much of the second period and parts of the third, earning four more power plays but not converting.
Bigger for the Islanders was a 4-for-4 night on the penalty kill, including a big kill with 6:10 to go in the third after John Tavares' turnover at the Kings' blue line sent Richards away on a breakaway, resulting in a save by Johnson and a slashing minor for Travis Hamonic.
The Kings pressed for the go-ahead goal on that power play and again in the final two minutes of regulation, but Johnson shut the door and the Islanders' defensive-zone structure was tight. They blocked 18 shots, 10 in the third period.
"They have a lot of weapons out there," Hamonic said of the Kings, who had won six straight at home. "This night for the PK is something we can build off."
Despite going to OT the night before, the Islanders looked fresher in Thursday night's OT. Their defensemen were active and Lubomir Visnovsky nearly ended it in the opening minute but was denied by Quick while alone in the slot.
Then the Islanders earned the second point anyway, sending them to Phoenix feeling good about themselves and headed back up the Metro Division standings.
"We stuck together and played a real strong game," Johnson said. "It's nice to see our identity start to come out a bit."
Notes & quotes:Capuano decided to sit Cory Conacher, putting Casey Cizikas back in after he was a healthy scratch in Anaheim on Wednesday night. Conacher had a goal and an assist in his first 12 games, 10 of which he spent primarily as the top-line wing with Tavares and Okposo.