KINGS (32-22-4) at ISLANDERS (21-30-7)
TV -- FS-West (HD), MSG PLUS (HD)
Last 10 - Kings 7-0-3, Islanders 6-4-0
Season series -- The teams are meeting for the second and final time this season. The Kings routed the Islanders 5-1 on Nov. 13 at the Staples Center for their sixth consecutive win against the Isles.
Big story - The Kings can see the end of their marathon 10-game road trip in the distance -- this is Game 9, and they head West after their stop at the Nassau Coliseum before wrapping up the trip down the highway in Anaheim. The Kings have points in each of the first eight games -- five wins and three post-regulation losses, including Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss in New York. It's their third game in four nights, and they'll be facing an improved Islanders team that has scored 35 goals while winning five of its last seven.
Kings - Los Angeles came back twice from one-goal deficits in the third period at Madison Square Garden and killed off a four-minute penalty in overtime but lost in the shootout to the Rangers. Captain Dustin Brown had a pair of goals after scoring only once in the previous 16 contests.
Despite the prolonged run of success (8-0-3 in their last 11 games) the Kings have only climbed to seventh place in the Western Conference -- they're in a four-way tie with teams between sixth and ninth.
The Kings also have to overcome the temptation to look past the Islanders as they end a trip that included wins in places like Philadelphia and Washington.
"It's going to be, I think, the toughest game of the road trip," defenseman Drew Doughty told the team's website. "As the road trip goes on, you kind of get lackadaisical. You start developing bad habits, but we've got to make sure we're at our best tomorrow night."
Islanders - Now that the Islanders have figured out how to put the puck in the other team's net, they need to find a way to keep it out of their own. Rookie Nathan Lawson made his third straight start Thursday night after returning from a knee injury, but for the second time, he didn't make it through the second period. Boston lit him up for five goals in a 6-3 win. Lawson is now sporting a 4.56 goals against average in just more than 300 minutes of action. Al Montoya, who relieved Lawson in both games and got a win on Sunday in Buffalo, could get his first start as an Islander.
On a more positive note, New York's offense, and particularly the core of young forwards, continued to score against the Bruins. Franchise center John Tavares had 2 goals and is now has 23, one shy of his total for all of last season. The Islanders are one of only three teams with three 20-goal scorers at this point in the season, and their average age is 24.3 years old - easily the youngest of the trios.
Who's hot - Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick is 7-0-1 in his past eight appearances and has allowed 14 goals in that span. Anze Kopitar's goal last Saturday was only his second in 21 games, but he now has points in four straight contests. … Tavares has 5 goals and 11 points in the past 7 games. Michael Grabner has 10 goals in that span for the Islanders.
Injury report - Left wing Marco Sturm is on IR because of knee tendinitis for the Kings. … The Islanders have four players (Trent Hunter, Mike Mottau, Mark Eaton and Kevin Poulin) who are out for the season. Goalie Rick DiPietro remains out with facial fractures from a fight with Brent Johnson of Pittsburgh. Defenseman Mark Streit hasn't played this season because of shoulder surgery but has begun skating. Center Doug Weight has been out since November with a back injury, and forward Jeremy Colliton is still out with a rib injury.
Stat pack -- This is the last game of the season against an Eastern Conference team for the Kings. They have feasted, going 10-5-2 to this point. The Islanders have gone 5-5-5 against the West and have more non-regulation losses against teams from that conference than every other club in the East.
Puck drop - Quick knows one Islander extremely well. Not only is forward Matt Moulson a former King, he's also Quick's brother-in-law -- they married sisters.
Moulson has one goal against Quick in their three career meetings.
"We skate together all summer," Quick told the Isles' website. "I think I have a pretty good read on him, but I think he knows where my weak spots are. So it should be interesting."