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Kings set record in 5-1 victory over Islanders

Anze Kopitar scores twice as the Kings win for a team record eighth consecutive time at home to start the season.

November 13, 2010|By Kevin Baxter

For all the things the Kings have accomplished during the best start in franchise history, there's one thing that has so far eluded them.

They're still trying to develop a swagger. And if you don't think that's tough, just try doing it while on skates.

"You need to have a little bit of a swagger in your stride as an athlete and as a team," Coach Terry Murray said. "It's a very hard thing to capture [but] it can get you through some very difficult times during the heavy part of the season."

The Kings certainly had an extra bounce in their step Saturday, with Anze Kopitar scoring twice in the first 5:02 to start the team on its way to a methodical 5-1 win against the New York Islanders at Staples Center. The victory gave the Kings a franchise-record eight consecutive home wins to start the season and left them with club records of 12 victories and 24 points after 15 games.

Those records become more impressive when you consider that the Kings started the season with the youngest roster in the NHL, meaning some players are learning to swagger not long after they learned to walk.

That, however, might be an advantage, said second-line center Jarret Stoll, whose second-period assist gave him 14 points in the last 13 games.

"Sometimes you're too young to realize certain things," said Stoll, who at 28 is one of the oldest Kings. "We want a swagger, we want to have a confidence to ourselves, but we don't want to be arrogant.

"We've got a great start going, but we've got to keep it going. All that talk and all the enthusiasm about our team is no good unless we keep winning."

Kopitar got the Kings headed toward that goal Saturday, collecting a puck that had bounced off the skate of teammate Dustin Brown and flicking it past Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson 83 seconds into the game. Then, just past the five-minute mark, he picked the rebound of a shot by Drew Doughty out of a scramble in front of the net and jammed it home, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead and giving Kopitar 300 points for his career.

The skidding Islanders, losers of 10 in a row, halved the lead 37 seconds later when Rob Schremp grabbed a long rebound and wristed a left-handed shot past Jonathan Quick. But that was the only blemish on the night for Quick, and early in the second period Justin Williams put the Kings comfortably back in front, taking a rebound off Roloson's stick and directing it around the goalie for his sixth goal in seven games.

Brown and Droughty added third-period insurance goals, the first coming on Brown's penalty shot at 7:46 and the second on a power play with less than five minutes to play.

So although the swagger might not be there yet, neither is the complacency. Because as good as the Kings' start has been, defenseman Davis Drewiske said no one is taking it as any more than that -- a start.

"We know it's early in the year, so I think we're kind of anxious to see how good we can be," Drewiske said. "You have to keep working and keep getting better.

"Right now I think it's just about us continuing to improve."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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