Los Angeles Kings right wing Dave Taylor took the ice for the 921st time Saturday night at The Forum, tying Marcel Dionne for most career games as a King.
In 14 seasons with the club, Taylor has seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Mostly, the bad and the ugly. It has been at least a decade since he has seen it this good.
Led by Bob Kudelski's first career hat trick, the Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks, 6-2, to move into sole possession of first place in the Smythe Division, two points ahead of the Calgary Flames. It was the Kings' sixth consecutive victory and their seventh in eight games to improve their record to 25-14-5.
This is the latest point in the season they have been on top in their division since 1980-81, a season in which they won a club-record 43 games.
"I've been on a checking line most of the year, so that makes getting a hat trick all the more gratifying," Kudelski said.
Kudelski has seven goals and one assist in the last eight games, and four goals in the last two games.
"It's hard to pinpoint," he said of his hot streak.
The Hartford Whalers carried leads into the third period of the first three games of an extended road trip that took them from Los Angeles to Vancouver and Toronto before last night's windup in New York. The Rangers blew a three-goal, first-period lead against the Whalers, but hung on for a 4-3 win. Only once in the first three games of the trip were the Whalers able to hang on for a victory and that was close. Saturday night the Toronto Maple Leafs, on their only power play of the game, scored with 7 minutes 13 seconds remaining for a 2-2 tie.
The New York Islanders are 1-6-3 during the last two seasons without star center Pat LaFontaine.