Matt Moulson gets bragging rights on brother-in-law Jonathan Quick (Kinda)

The Minnesota Wild’s Matt Moulson and the Kings’ Jonathan Quick are married to sisters, so things might get a little interesting around the holidays when the subject of Monday’s game comes up. Moulson scored the tying goal for the Wild, who went on to defeat Quick and the Kings 3-2, ending their six-game winning streak.

Bragging rights? Yeah, well, maybe not so much, according to Moulson.

“It’s always good to score a goal,” said Moulson, a former teammate of Quick’s with the Kings. “He’s stopped me a lot more than I have scored on him and he also has a couple of trophies that I don’t have, so I don’t think I can do too much bragging.”

Moulson referred to the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy that Quick won with the Kings in 2011-12.

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Islanders 3, Kings 0.

The Kings needed an extra step Saturday to stop the speedy Islanders. At the end of a six-game Eastern trip, that appeared to be too much to ask.

The beneficiary of the Kings’ lethargy was Islanders goalie Al Montoya, who recorded a 35-save shutout in his first NHL start since April 9, 2009. The result was the Kings’ first regulation loss since Jan. 20, a span of 11 games during which the Kings went 8-0-3. Another win or shootout loss would have established a team record for the most consecutive games with a point.

The Islanders are 22-30-7, a mere six points out of the Eastern Conference basement. But under the circumstances — playing their second game in as many days and sixth in 10 — the Kings’ loss wasn’t as bad as it seemed on the surface. They fired 35 shots toward Montoya, blocked 14 shots and collected 18 hits (four by Dustin Brown = $200 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles).

The Kings also surrendered 13 giveaways, and the Islanders were credited with 12 takeaways, which begins to hint at the extra step the New Yorkers had all night. The shots probably weren’t of the quality Terry Murray desired, either, though you couldn’t blame the Kings for firing away when throwing everything at the net might have been their only chance for victory.

Nor are the Islanders, 5-1-0 in their last six games, as much of a pushover as they were to start the season. Former King Matt Moulson scored his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season, burying one from a soft spot 48 feet away in the second period, then spinning to his backhand around Matt Greene in the low slot in the third. Frans Nielson scored his league-leading fifth short-handed goal in the first period. Jonathan Quick finished with 20 saves.

With some relevant teams still on the ice (Anaheim, Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, Vancouver), the Kings find themselves temporarily stuck at 68 points, tied with three other teams (Anaheim, Dallas, Calgary) on the Western Conference playoff bubble. Technically they’re ahead of the idle Flames, who have played one more game than the Kings.

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Matt Moulson interview

It’s two interviews for the prices of one today. Don talked to forward Matt Moulson, who made his debut with the Kings this season and totaled five goals and four assists in 22 games. Moulson also had 28 goals and 28 assists in 57 regular-season games with Manchester. Here’s a video of Moulson’s first goal, followed by his chat with Don…


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Player evaluation: Moulson

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MATT MOULSON

This season: 22 games, 5 goals, 4 assists, plus-2 rating.

Positives: There is some potential here. Moulson got bounced back and forth, between Los Angeles and Manchester, four times this season, but he managed some quality play in both leagues. In just 57 games with the Monarchs, Moulson totaled 28 goals and 28 assists. He seems to have a solid all-around game.

Negatives: Does he have top-six forward potential, and can he bridge the gap between the AHL and the NHL? There are a lot of players who put up strong numbers in the AHL but can’t make it translate to the NHL. Moulson’s challenges are to prove he belongs and prove that he deserves the ice time that might go to a younger prospect. Moulson could help his cause by packing on a little more muscle.

Looking ahead: This is a crucial time for Moulson. It’s very possible that he can take a step forward and earn a spot on the NHL roster, but if he doesn’t, he runs the risk of being pigeonholed as a talented AHL player who doesn’t have the chops to move up. The opportunity should be there for Moulson to earn a third- or fourth-line role.

Contract situation: Restricted free agent.

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