ISLANDERS (8-15-5) at KINGS (18-7-4)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
OFF THE ISLAND IN LA: The New York Islanders don’t visit Los Angeles very often. In fact, this will be the Islanders’ first visit to STAPLES Center since November 13, 2010. Dating back to the 2006-2007 season, the Kings have had uncanny success against the Islanders, going 7-1-1 overall, and 3-0-0 at STAPLES Center. Can the Kings continue their dominance against the Isles and sweep the season series with a win tonight?
LEAVE ‘EM STRANDED: The Islanders are amidst a stretch that sees them in a myriad of struggle. The Islanders are winless (0-6-2) in their last eight contests, and are a lowly 1-7-2 in their previous 10 games. They have lost eight consecutive road games in regulation time. Can the Kings extend New York’s misery on the road with a win tonight in 60 minutes?
POWER HOUR: The Kings haven’t scored on a power play in their last 26 opportunities, and are 1 for 30 during man-advantage situations in their past eight games, scoring their previous power play goal on November 19th against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The New York Islanders have the league’s worst penalty-kill unit, and have allowed five power play goals in their previous two contests. This presents a great opportunity for the Kings to snap out of their power play slump.
MURPH’S TURF: The Kings will be donning their vintage Forum Blue and Gold uniforms tonight for the second time this season, as the club honors former defenseman Larry Murphy, who played three-plus season in a Kings uniform from 1980-1983. After being drafted 4th overall by the Kings in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, Murphy played 282 regular season games in a Kings uniform, scoring 52 goals, recording 155 assists, and clocking up 255 penalty minutes. Murphy went on to have an illustrious career after his time with the Kings, winning four Stanley Cups; Two the Pittsburgh Penguins (1991, 1992) and a pair with the Detroit Red Wings (1997, 1998).
14 AND COUNTING: It’s been a wonderful 14-game stretch for the Kings, where they’ve gone an outstanding 9-1-4, pocketing 22 points in the standings. During this span, the Kings have outscored opponents 32-20, and have allowed two goals or less in each game. Facing an Islanders club that is winless in it’s last eight games puts the Kings in solid position to push this stretch of success to 15.
WE’RE OPEN LATE: The Kings’ previous performance against the Islanders this season saw them pull off a three-goal third period frenzy, overcoming a late two-goal deficit on November 14th at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Tyler Toffoli deflected home the game-winner with just 1:27 remaining on the clock. If the Kings can’t get on the board early tonight, they’ll need a repeat performance of that late-game magic.
TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF: The last time the New York Islanders skated at STAPLES Center, which was way back on November 13th, 2010, the Kings put on an offensive showcase that saw Anze Kopitar (2G, 1A), Dustin Brown (1G, 1A) and Drew Doughty (1G,1A) light up the scoresheet in a 5-1 win. The Kings also had a bit of success on their power play during that last meeting in LA, which is something they’re in dire need of tonight.
HANDS IN THE AIR
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 7:00 on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call at 7:30 from STAPLES Center.