Feb 11, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Justin Williams (14) crashes into New York Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov (20) during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Islanders won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders vs. Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Report

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (7-9-3, 17 points) take on the Los Angeles Kings (11-6-1, 23 points) in Game 20 (wow, it’s been going fast) of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
When: Thursday, Nov. 14th, 7:00 p.m. EST
Watch: MSG+ (HD) – Howie Rose, Butch Goring
Listen: 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM WRCN – Chris King

Tickets: NY Islanders tickets

After a rough four game road trip that saw the Islanders fail to salvage a single point, we saw a nice, much needed rebound against the Nashville Predators. The Islanders now look to win their second straight game on home ice against the Los Angeles Kings.

Since that Islander game on Tuesday, things may very well be changing. Kevin Poulin will be in net for the third straight game, something I’d never thought I’d hear.

Coming into this season I had a “hoping for the best but expecting the worst” attitude towards Poulin, but recently has given me no reason to expect the worst. Let’s call it what it is; he’s played brilliantly. He’s kept the Islanders in games frequently. There have been flashes in Poulin’s play where I’ve said to myself, “I’m not even sure Nabokov makes that save”.

Poulin’s been outstanding so far, and for what it’s worth, Evgeni Nabokov may want to start worrying about the starting job, because it looks like something is going to change soon.

More positives to take from the game (depending on how you look at it), John Tavares is indeed playing tonight after sustaining a minor injury during the closing minutes of Tuesday’s game.

However, Tavares’ line mate Thomas Vanek will not be playing tonight due to a minor upper body injury. Vanek did skate with the team in practice today, all but ensuring he will be playing this Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings. But for tonight’s game, expect Brock Nelson to assume Vanek’s role on the first line again tonight.

As for Los Angeles, star goaltender Jonathan Quick will not be in net tonight due to a strained groin he suffered Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Ben Scrivens will get the nod in net tonight for Los Angeles.

However, given his rather serious injury, Quick will not need surgery, which is a positive for the U.S.A. National Team looking forward. In all likelihood, Quick will be the starting goaltender for Team U.S.A., so to hear he’ll be fully healthy come February is great news.

With that pre-game briefing, tonight’s game shouldn’t be a terribly high scoring game. Both Poulin and Scrivens are solid goaltenders. Both teams will need to capitalize on second and third chances if they want to put up goals. It may be difficult for the Islanders given LA’s tenacious team, but the Islanders are capable of playing just as well as the Kings and beating them, and hopefully we’ll see that tonight.

What They’re Saying…

Jack Capuano when asked about the lineup for tonight: “Same lineup. Johnny (Tavares) felt good today. We wouldn’t have put him in if he didn’t.” (link)

John Tavares on his current status: “I feel like I can play at the level I want to play at.” (link)

“Nabby’s looked good; Kevin’s just in a position where he’s felt good, and we’re going to ride him.” said Coach Capuano when asked about Kevin Poulin starting tonight. (link)

Los Angeles Coach Darryl Sutter on Jonathan Quick: “Our trainer thinks it’s either hamstring or groin-related. So it’s a muscle.” (link)

Quick Hitters…

  • The Islanders are 7-1-2 when they score at least three goals, they’re 0-8-1 when they have not
  • Both John Tavares and Frans Neilsen are on three game point streaks
  • Kevin Poulin has posted a 1.75 GAA and a .939 SV% in his last four games
  • Andrew MacDonald leads the league with 69 blocked shots
  • Matt Martin leads the league in hits with 85. He’s on pace for the most hits recorded since they became an official stat
  • The Islanders have a 6-5-4 all time record against the LA Kings

Projected Lineup…

29 Nelson – 91  Tavares – 21  Okposo
96 Bouchard – 51  Nielsen – 12  Bailey
40  Grabner – 16  Regin – 13  McDonald
17  Martin –-53  Cizikas – 15  Clutterbuck

47  MacDonald – 3  Hamonic
14  Hickey -46  Donovan
55  Ness -7  Carkner

60 Poulin

20 Nabokov

Scratches: 4 Martinek, 26 Vanek, 36 Boulton
Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 37 Strait

Rich Dias (@RDNHL) is covering the game for Eyes in the press box. Follow him for updates throughout the contest.

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