Game Preview: NY Islanders vs Los Angeles Kings
The NY Islanders will look to make it three wins in a row as the Los Angeles Kings come into UBS Arena.
As it has been on many occasions this season, it was the Ilya Sorokin show on Wednesday night when the Isles hosted the Winnipeg Jets. New York’s netminder faced off against another one of the league’s best between the pipes as Connor Hellebuyck was fresh off his 50-save performance Monday at MSG. The Islanders struck first as Sebastian Aho netted his 5th goal of the year to make it 1-0. The Jets would answer in the second on a Nikolaj Ehlers power-play goal but it was followed by former Isles first-round draft choice, Simon Holmstrom, getting the game-winner to give New York a 2-1 victory. Sorokin made 25 saves in the win, raising his save percentage to .925, which is tied for 3rd best in the NHL.
The Kings will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after LA was in action on Thursday night at the Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead thanks to goals from Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson. That lead would not hold up Tomas Tatar and Dawson Mercer got the Devils even at two before Sean Durzi put the Kings ahead with less than five minutes to go. In the final minute, New Jersey would pull the goalie and answer once again as Nico Hischier’s 24th goal of the season tied the game at three. Halfway through overtime, Mercer’s big night would continue as he found the back of the net once again, giving the Devils the comeback 4-3 victory.
This will be the first time this season that the Islanders and Kings will meet. Last season, the Kings swept the season series, beating the Isles 3-2 and 5-2. The two squads have met once in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, back in 1980 when the Isles won the first round series three games to one en route to their first of four consecutive Stanley Cups.
All-time, the Islanders are an even 50-50-12-1 against the Los Angeles Kings.
Players to Watch
When Lou Lamoriello acquired Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks during the All-Star break, he envisioned his talents, alongside Mathew Barzal, to become very lethal. Well, Barzal is going to be missing for a long period of time due to a lower-body injury, so Horvat now has an even bigger role in his first season on Long Island. The 27-year-old has done a nice job living up to that responsibility to this point in the first two games without #13. The Isles are hoping that can continue as we get deeper and deeper into the season.
The Kings are also in the midst of a playoff race on the other side of the bracket. Currently sitting in 3rd place in the Pacific Division, LA is in a good spot but must keep its foot on the gas pedal. Adrian Kempe has been a big reason why the Kings are in this spot, leading the team with 28 goals, including 6 in his last 5 games. He’ll be the point of emphasis for the Isles’ defense in this one.
Anders Lee-Bo Horvat-Matt Martin
Zach Parise-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Arnaud Durandeau-Casey Cizikas-Hudson Fasching
Ross Johnston-Otto Koivula-Simon Holmstrom
Adam Pelech-Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov-Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho-Noah Dobson
Quinton Byfield-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Kevin Fiala-Phillip Danault-Viktor Arvidsson
Alex Iafallo-Blake Lizotte-Gabriel Vilardi
Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Rasmus Kupari-Arthur Kaliyev
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Tobias Bjornfot-Sean Walker
Lineups via DailyFaceoff