Stuck in the crowded Western Conference playoff race, points are
becoming a valuable commodity for the Los Angeles Kings. They’re
accustomed to getting two when facing the New York Islanders.
The Kings look to set a franchise record by getting at least one
point for the 12th consecutive game when they visit the Islanders
on Saturday night.
Los Angeles (32-22-4) is tied with Anaheim, Dallas and Calgary
for the final three playoff positions in the conference, two points
back of the fourth-place tie between Nashville and San Jose.
The Kings are also three points behind Phoenix for the Pacific
Los Angeles has gained major momentum during an 8-0-3 stretch
since last losing in regulation Jan. 20, 2-0 to the Coyotes.
Extending that stretch Saturday would set a team record for
consecutive games with at least one point.
Dustin Brown helped keep the string intact by scoring twice
Thursday, including one with 2:21 left in regulation to force
overtime in a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
The Kings are 5-0-3 during this 10-game road trip, which ends
against the Ducks on Wednesday. However, they’ll first try to
extend their winning streak over the Islanders (21-30-7) to seven
after beating them 5-1 at home on Nov. 13.
Los Angeles has five wins and a tie in its last six visits to
Nassau Coliseum, but Drew Doughty is wary of a letdown versus the
team in the Atlantic Division’s cellar.
“We want to finish (the trip) off on a great note. It’s tough to
come into this building,” the defenseman told the Kings’ official
website. “You go through games in Washington and Philly, which are
the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and huge games, and then
you come here. It’s no knock against them or anything, but they’re
obviously not as high in the standings as the other two teams.
“So it’s going to be, I think, the toughest game of the road
Doughty’s five goals lead the team over the last 11 games. He’s
scored twice in the past three matchups with the Islanders, netting
a goal and setting up one of Anze Kopitar’s pair on Nov. 13.
Kopitar, Los Angeles’ leader with 55 points, has four goals and
three assists in six meetings with New York.
The Islanders would prefer to get off to a strong start after
giving up the first four goals in a 6-3 loss to Boston on Thursday,
ending their season-high four-game winning streak. They’ve been
outscored 7-2 in the opening period over the last three games.
“I think it’s because we have a lot of young people here and as
the season goes on it gets tougher,” center Zenon Konopka said.
John Tavares has five goals and six assists over the past seven
games. The center needs one more goal to match the 24 he had as a
rookie last season, and his team-leading 49 points are just five
shy of his total from 2009-10.
He has no points in three meetings with Los Angeles, and will
likely face Jonathan Quick, who has won all four of his starts in
the series with one shutout and a 1.22 goals-against average.
Quick, the brother-in-law of New York’s Matt Moulson, is 7-0-1
with a 1.68 GAA and two shutouts in his last eight starts.