The New York Islanders look to continue their two-game winning streak when they host the Los Angeles Kings at Barclays Center on Saturday night. The Isles are fresh off back-to-back shutout wins over Boston and Dallas.
The Kings have dropped their last two games, falling by one goal on both occasions. Los Angeles is presently beginning a five-game road trip that will be a key to their continued contention in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Islanders will start backup J.F. Berube in net despite the fact that Thomas Greiss has recorded two straight shutouts, while the Kings will turn to Peter Budaj between the pipes.
Both teams have several injured players who are close to returning. Cal Clutterbuck is nearing his return but likely out for the Isles while Tyler Toffoli traveled with the Kings on this road trip but it likely still a few days away from playing in a game.
Los Angeles Kings at New York Islanders
Barclays Center, 7:00 PM EST
Broadcast Channels: MSG-plus, KCOP-13
2016-17 Season Series: Nov 23, 2016 – Kings 4, Islanders 2
New York Islanders – 18-17-8 – 44 points
Home Record: 12-8-4
Hot Players: John Tavares, Anders Lee, Jason Chimera, Thomas Greiss
Key Injuries: Travis Hamonic, Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome – Stephen Gionta
Anthony Beauvillier – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera
Shane Prince – Casey Cizikas – Nikolay Kulemin
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
Nick Leddy – Adam Pelech
Thomas Hickey – Scott Mayfield
Los Angeles Kings – 22-19-4 – 48 points
Road Record: 8-11-3
Hot Players: Kyle Clifford, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik
Key Injuries: Jonathan Quick, Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Anze Kopitar – Marian Gaborik
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Andy Andreoff – Nic Dowd – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel – Matt Greene
1) The Kings continue to play good team defense despite the continued absence of injured starting goalie Jonathan Quick. No team has allowed fewer shots on goal per game than the Kings (25.9). The Islanders will have to create offense tonight and may need their defensemen to step up and join the rush to do it.
2) Kings coach Darryl Sutter is one win away from passing Jacques Lemaire for 12th on the all-time win list for NHL coaches with 617. Two of Sutter’s brothers, Duane and Brent, played for the Islanders during their dynasty years.
3) If this game is close, that should favor the Kings. Los Angeles is 13-7-4 in one-goal contests while the Islanders are just 6-6-8. Los Angeles is also 9-1 in games decided in overtime this season.
4) The firing of Jack Capuano seems to have lit a bit of a fire under the Islanders. Weight is more openly emotional than his predecessor and the team seems to realize the urgency necessary to try to salvage their season.
5) The first period will be a key for the Islanders. The Isles have been quick starters this season, outscoring opponents 39-33 in the opening 20 minutes. The Kings have struggled in the first period and have been outscored 32-25.
Both these teams are fighting for playoff position in their respective conferences. The Kings five-game road swing is a key for their continued contention in the Western Conference while the Islanders have a lot of teams to pass in the East if they hope to get back into playoff contention.
The Kings are struggling offensively while the Isles defense has been inconsistent and suspect on defense for most of the season.
Berube will be facing his former team and is still looking for his first win of the season.
Expect a close, low-scoring game. The Kings need to shut down the red-hot John Tavares in order to win this game that both teams need badly.