NEW YORK ISLANDERS (17-12-3) VS LA KINGS (20-10-3)
7 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER - STAR WARS NIGHT
TV: MSG+2, MSG GO
RADIO: 88.7FM, 103.9FM, AM970
GAME NOTES - MORNING SKATE UPDATES
The New York Islanders are looking to halt a two-game losing streak when they host the LA Kings on Saturday night at Barclays Center.
This is unfamiliar territory for the Islanders this season, who hadn't lost consecutive games in regulation until this week, when they dropped back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets.
They gave up 11 goals in their past two games and cutting down their goals against is priority number one for the Islanders. The Islanders have allowed five-or-more goals in four of their past eight games in December. Their 3-1 win over Washington was the lone game this month allowing two-or-fewer goals against.
"We're just giving up too many goals. Too many point-blank opportunities," John Tavares said after the Islanders 6-4 loss in Columbus. "We've been in this situation the last couple of weeks where we are down two or three halfway through the game or early in the second period… We're just not executing at a high level consistently enough."
This is the second and final meeting between the clubs this season, as the Kings edged the Islanders 3-2 back on Oct. 15. The Islanders nearly came back to tie the contest at Staples Center, with John Tavares narrowly missing the tying goal as time expired.
Overall, the home team has won the past five meetings between the Isles and Kings.
Thomas Greiss will start in goal. Anthony Beauvillier and Steve Bernier draw into the lineup while Alan Quine and Josh Ho-Sang - who was loaned to Bridgeport - come out. The Isles are going with the same defense pairs.
HO-SANG TO BRIDGEPORT, BERNIER RECALLED:
Josh Ho-Sang was loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday morning, while Steve Bernier was recalled later that afternoon. Bernier had 10 goals and four assists in 21 games for Bridgeport, but his job will be to play a simple, predictable, hard-working game for the Islanders.
"To me, we need some more meat and potatoes as far as on those two lines we need some predictability and some mash," head coach Doug Weight said in reference to his third and fourth lines on Friday. "We need some guys to be professional, get some pucks in and to play a simpler type of style. Stability is the word for me. Professionalism and stability. We need to be able to pour guys over the boards and play a harder game."
Weight said Bernier will help the Islanders find some stability and predictability, as well as hard-nosed physical play. Bernier will skate on the fourth line with Jason Chimera and Anthony Beauvillier.
"Bernie is a pro, solid. Positionally reliable. Big body. We need some stability right now from our own zone out," Weight said. "Hopefully Berns will come up and do his job. He's not here to change the world. He's just going to play his game, but we need some stability. He's a great person. Well-respected in the room and it's going to be good for us."
"My game is very simple. I don't try to do anything flashy out there," Bernier said. "North-south. I try to protect the puck down low and spend as much time as possible in the offensive zone. I think it's the best way to play good defensively."
Bernier had 10 goals and four assists in 21 games with the Sound Tigers this season. The veteran winger is in his third season in the Islanders organization, playing 24 games with the Islanders in 2015-16 before spending the entire 2016-17 season with the Sound Tigers.
BY THE NUMBERS: Josh Bailey edition
Josh Bailey scored his first-career hat trick on Thursday night. Here are some noteworthy numbers on Bailey's first three-goal game.
Bailey played 670 games and scored 111 goals before his first hat trick. Only Duane Sutter scored more goals (121) as an Islander before his first trick.
Bailey's 38 points (8G, 30A) are most on the Islanders. He's also tied for fifth in NHL scoring and is tied for second in assists. Bailey is riding a four-game point streak (3G, 4A).
STAR WARS NIGHT:
Join the New York Islanders for Star Wars™ Night on Saturday, December 16 as they defend home ice against the Los Angeles Kings. The first 6,000 fans in attendance will take home an exclusive Star Wars™ T-Shirt. Plus you'll have the chance to win some great prizes throughout the night. Stop by the Star Wars™ table on the concourse, and keep an eye out for some of your favorite characters roaming Barclays Center.
Last Game: 4-2L at NY Rangers
Goals: Anze Kopitar - 16
Assists: Anze Kopitar - 22
Points: Anze Kopitar - 38
Power Play: 16% - 26th
Penalty Kill: 87.03% - 1st
Prior to their three-game road trip to the Tri-State Area, the LA Kings were the hottest team in the NHL winning eight straight games to vault to the top of the Pacific Division. But after a pair of losses to the New Jersey Devils and most recently the New York Rangers, the Kings have lost two straight.
Anze Kopitar is having a bounce-back year and leads the Kings in goals (16), assists (22) and points (38). Kopitar's 16 goals already surpassed his total from last season (12) and he's on pace to score over a point-per-game for the first time in his career.
Dustin Brown, who is three games away from 1,000 career NHL contests, is also enjoying a rebound campaign, with 26 points in 33 games this season.