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Sopel scores against former team as Kings top Islanders

Oct 11, 2006 - 5:21 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Brent Sopel renewed acquaintances with some familiar faces and prolonged their misery.

Sopel had a goal and an assist and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky added a pair of assists to lead the Los Angels Kings to a 4-2 triumph over the New York Islanders in their lone encounter of the season.

Acquired with Mark Parrish from New York for Jeff Tambellini, Denis Grebeshkov and a third-round pick on March 5, Sopel scored for the second straight game to give the Kings their first home win over the Islanders since November 16, 2000.

"Tonight was probably a pretty difficult game for Brent to play, playing against his teammates from last year," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "Those are always difficult games to play. They're always easier when you're playing in the other team's building."

Sopel, who was plagued by knee problems after the trade and underwent surgery May 1, snapped a 2-2 tie with six seconds left in the second period after Islanders captain Alexei Yashin was called for hooking.

Tverdovsky's wrist shot from the right faceoff circle was stopped by goaltender Rick DiPietro. However, Tverdovsky shoveled the rebound back to Sopel, whose one-timer from between the circles found the top left corner of the net.

"We were moving the puck around pretty well," Sopel said. "We got a lot of traffic (in front). ... Tverdovsky just layed one out there in the middle of the net and I got all of it. Give credit to the forwards, they were moving in and out, creating a lot of traffic. I just got the shot and it went through."

Jason Blake nearly tied the game with 1:58 remaining in the third period, when he skated past two defenders and shot the puck off the crossbar and the right goalpost before netminder Dan Cloutier covered up.

Alexander Frolov added a power-play goal - his second tally of the season - with 17 seconds remaining for the Kings, who had a 40-25 edge in shots on goal and went 2-for-12 with the man advantage.

"We have a good homestand here early in the season, so we need to get as many points as we can because in a couple of weeks, we'll be on a road trip," Kings defenseman Aaron Miller said. "I don't think it was our best effort, but we got the win."

Cloutier made 23 saves to enable Crawford to tie Jack Adams for 15th place on the all-time victories list (413).

"It was nice to get it over with, especially to get the two points," said Cloutier, who recorded his first win with the Kings. "It's not the start I wanted ... soft goal early, first shot on goal. Again, our team battled back and played hard for me. It's nice to see."

DiPietro stopped 36 shots for the Islanders, who opened a season with three consecutive losses for the first time in franchise history.

"We had 10 penalties," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "That's one period of the game. That's very taxing on your penalty killers and very taxing on your goaltender."

New York needed just 1:16 to open the scoring as Shawn Bates made a pass from behind the net to Richard Park, who snuck the puck between Cloutier and the left post.

Michael Cammalleri tied the score at 9:47 of the opening period with a wrister from the right faceoff circle that beat DiPietro to the glove side for his second goal of the season.

Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead when Sopel intercepted a clearing pass at the Islanders' blue line and fired a shot that DiPietro stopped. However, Tom Kostopolous knocked the rebound inside the left post with 2:24 left in the session.

Yashin evened the score with 37 seconds remaining in the period with a slapshot from roughly 40 feet out that trickled past Cloutier for his initial tally of the campaign.

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