Game Preview: NY Islanders @ Los Angeles Kings

The Islanders have been on a roll lately. Can they continue the good times in LA tonight?

Kyle Palmieri's hot streak is a big reason the Islanders have clawed their way back into playoff position. He will look to continue this streak tonight in Los Angeles.
Kyle Palmieri's hot streak is a big reason the Islanders have clawed their way back into playoff position. He will look to continue this streak tonight in Los Angeles. / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders (29-20-14) will play the second half of a back-to-back tonight when they visit the Los Angeles Kings (32-20-11) at Crypto.com Arena. While the last few wins have come against teams at the bottom of the standings, tonight's game is against a team in playoff position in the Western Conference, as the Kings currently sit third in the Pacific Division with 75 points. Puck drop is scheduled for 10:30 PM ET.

LAST GAME

The Islanders won their sixth straight game last night in Anaheim, defeating the Ducks by the score of 6-1. Semyon Varlamov was terrific in goal, and the Isles received at least one goal from each of their four lines. Kyle Palmieri continued his unbelievable hot streak, and the new first line of Brock Nelson- Bo Horvat- Mathew Barzal remained elite at producing offense. Patrick Roy was critical of the Isles' second period last night, where they did not record a shot until 13 minutes into the period. it is encouraging to see the Islanders being critical of any subpar play, even in the midst of six-game winning streak.

HISTORICAL MATCH-UP

Back in December, the Islanders handed the Kings their first road loss of the season, coming behind to beat LA 3-2 in overtime. JG Pageau scored the winner in overtime, and Scott Mayfield stepping up to protect Mathew Barzal from a hit from Andreas Eklund was specifically cited by Patrick Roy as evidence of the team's character when he took over as head coach. The Islanders have an all-time record of 54-53-12-1 against the Kings, including regular season and postseason games.

Zigmond Palffy
For fans of a certain age, seeing Ziggy Palffy in any uniform other than an Islanders uniform is a depressing visual. / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Personally, my first thought when I consider these two teams is the bad memory of the Zigmund Palffy trade. After a Palffy trade fell through with the NY Rangers (thankfully), the Isles sent Palffy, Bryan Smolinski, and Marcel Cousineau to LA in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Josh Green, Mathieu Biron, and the 8th overall pick of the 1999 NHL Draft. The Isles selected LW Taylor Pyatt with that pick. Palffy would go on to play five seasons in LA, continuing his elite offensive performance with the Kings.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

NYI: Kyle MacLean- Kyle MacLean has been extremely solid centering the new-look fourth line for the Islanders, which has had a positive effect on the rest of the roster. With MacLean cementing his spot in the lineup, Casey Cizikas and JG Pageau were able to each move up a spot, pushing Brock Nelson to the top line. All of these changes have culminated in a six-game win streak and a push for the playoffs. Look for MacLean to continue doing the little things right and reminding the organization why their faith in him has paid off.

LAK: Pierre-Luc Dubois- When the Kings acquired Dubois this offseason, he was viewed as perhaps the final piece of the puzzle in cementing LA as Stanley Cup contenders. Even after controversially alienating himself from multple previous teams in his career, the Kings were excited to add Dubois, and Dubois was excited to finally be in a location of his choosing. However, his season has not gone well, as he has 14 goals and 28 points through 63 games, with a -19 rating. In recent weeks, he has been dropped to the third line, seeing his ice time decrease commensurate with his struggles on the ice this season. As this is the first year of an eight-year contract, the Kings can really do nothing except pray that this is a mere bump in the road on the way to a successful tenure for Dubois. If the Kings are going to fulfill their promise in the postseason, Dubois will have to turn it around.

Jake Walman, Kyle MacLean
Kyle MacLean's tenacity has made him an effective fourth-line center for the Islanders. / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

PROJECTED LINES

NYI

Brock Nelson- Bo Horvat- Mathew Barzal

Anders Lee- JG Pageau- Kyle Palmieri

Pierre Engvall- Casey Cizikas- Simon Holmstrom

Matt Martin- Kyle MacLean- Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech- Noah Dobson

Alexander Romanov- Ryan Pulock

Mike Reilly- Sebastian Aho

Ilya Sorokin

Semyon Varlamov

LAK

Quinton Byfield- Anze Kopitar- Adrian Kempe

Kevin Fiala- Phillip Danault- Trevor Moore

Alex Turcotte- Pierre-Luc Dubois- Alex LaFerriere

Trevor Lewis- Blake Lizotte- Arthur Kaliyev

Jacob Moverare- Drew Doughty

Vladislav Gavrikov- Matt Roy

Andreas Englund- Jordan Spence

Cam Talbot

David Rittich

Line combinations courtesy of Daily Faceoff.

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