Islanders-Kings Preview

To say the New York Islanders are in a slump would be putting it

mildly.

The struggling Islanders carry an eight-game overall losing

streak and eight-game road slide into Saturday night’s matchup

against the Los Angeles Kings.

New York (8-16-5), which hasn’t won since Nov. 16 against

Detroit, opened a five-game western trip with a 5-1 loss to St.

Louis on Thursday.

The Islanders were again done in by an abysmal penalty kill,

allowing the Blues to go 3 for 6 with the man advantage. All three

power-play goals came in the first two periods.

“The power-play goals really put us in a hole,” center John

Tavares said. “It’s the same thing again. (We’re) just not good

enough.”

St. Louis broke out after scoring once in its previous 10

power-play chances, and those numbers may bode well for the Kings

(18-7-4).

Los Angeles has failed to score in its last 25 opportunities

with the advantage spanning the previous seven games and has a

great chance to turn it around against the Islanders, who have

allowed a league-high 27 power-play goals.

The Islanders, worst in the league with a minus-11 power-play

goal differential, have gone 2 for 23 on their own chances during

the overall losing streak, including Andrew McDonald’s goal against

St. Louis.

New York’s penalty kill, also the league’s worst at 70.0

percent, has been horrendous during the current road skid, going 17

for 32 (53.1 percent).

Every defeat during the road slide has come in regulation, and

if it happens again Saturday it would be the first time the

Islanders have dropped nine in a row in that fashion since Dec. 20,

1998-Jan. 16, 1999.

Anders Nilsson made 21 saves against the Blues, losing for the

first time in regulation in his third start of the season after

dropping the previous two in overtime.

“We all know in the locker room that we have to step it up,”

Nilsson said. “Everybody has got to look in the mirror and see what

you can do better.”

The Islanders, who are 3-10-0 on the road and haven’t won away

from home since Nov. 1 against Ottawa, will be looking to avoid

their longest overall losing streak since they dropped a

franchise-record 14 in a row Oct. 23-Nov. 24, 2010.

“It’s tough what we’re going through,” Tavares said. “The only

thing that is going to get us out of it is better execution.”

Despite their recent struggles on the power play, the Kings have

gone 3-1-3 in their last seven games, including victories in the

previous two.

In his NHL debut Tuesday night, Martin Jones made 26 saves

before stopping all nine attempts in the shootout, and Dwight King

scored the only shootout goal to lead Los Angeles to a 3-2 victory

at Anaheim.

Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown scored in regulation for the Kings,

who have earned a point in 13 of their last 14 games.

The 23-year-old Jones got a promotion from the AHL after

Jonathan Quick’s groin injury and had spent nearly three weeks

backing up Ben Scrivens.

“It was a great experience, and something I’ve dreamed about for

a long time – playing in an NHL game and getting a win,” Jones

said. “It was everything it was cracked up to be.”

Scrivens should be back in net against New York after going

6-1-3 with a 1.47 goals-against average in the Kings’ previous 10

games. That stretch started with a 23-save performance in a 3-2

road win over the Islanders on Nov. 14.