The New York Islanders get set for game number two in Los Angeles as they take on the significantly- weakened-but-somehow-not-struggling Los Angeles Kings.
The New York Islanders hope the Southern California sun will continue to benefit them as they face a weakened Los Angeles Kings team that’s still managing to win some games, oddly enough.
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It’s not that this team is the Montréal Canadiens of the west. When Jonathan Quick went down with injury at the start of the season bad things were projected. But oddly enough the tandem of Peter Budaj and Jeff Zatkoff, till he too got injured, so Jeff Campbell have been great for the Kings.
Budaj is sitting with a .915 SV% and 2.11 GAA and a 10-6-0 record in 16 starts for the Kings this season. Who’d a thought that a reject Montréal backup, beat out by a young upstart for the Carey Price backup spot last season would own the crease in LA.
The Kings aren’t the class of their conference or even their division, but they’re right in the thick of things in this early going. They’ve won three in a row now and sit two points off the top of the Pacific division. Which, admittedly, is about as good as the Islanders season so far. Use the adjective you want.
The Two Points
Those two points the Isles earned last night against the Ducks after a great first period and a Nick Leddy marathon shootout winner didn’t fault the Islanders any higher than the basement of the East they were already in. But it sure brought them closer to the escape hatch.
They now sit just a point off of Detroit for the absolute bottom of the conference, and four points off Carolina. Another two points tonight would fault them above Detroit and maybe even the Sabres (depending on how the tie-break works).
So fingers crossed that the Isles get the Budaj from Montréal that couldn’t save his job against Mike Condon. Who now plays backup to Craig Anderson in Ottawa.
New York Islanders Lineup:
Bailey-Tavares-Beauvillier Leddy-Hamonic Kulemin-Nelson-Strome Hickey-Boychuk Ladd-Cizikas-Clutterbuck/Prince de Haan-Pelech Lee-Quine-Chimera Halak (Griess)