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Preview: Islanders at Kings

Anze Kopitar in lineup for Los Angeles; forward Cal Clutterbuck game-time decision for New York

by Abbey Mastracco / NHL.com Correspondent

ISLANDERS (6-8-4) at KINGS (10-9-1)

10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, MSG+, NHL.TV

 

Islanders team scope

New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck, who left a 3-2 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period on Tuesday with an upper-body injury, will be a game-time decision. The win was the first on the road this season in six games for the Islanders (1-4-1). "We needed the point so badly," defenseman Thomas Hickey said after the game. "We need to two points tomorrow too. It started with tonight. That was a big step. That's a good hockey team on the road, and hopefully we can string something together." Nick Leddy scored in the 14th round of the shootout, the longest in franchise history. "This was obviously a huge game for us, especially starting off the road trip here in the west coast," defenseman Adam Pelech said after the game. "I know we all are pretty excited about that win." Pelech scored his first NHL goal and Josh Bailey scored on the power play. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak will start.

 
Kings team scope

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar will return to the lineup after missing the past five games with an upper-body injury. Kopitar participated in full at practice on Tuesday and took line rushes at the morning skate on Wednesday. Although Kopitar only has two goals this season, he plays a bigger role on the ice than that of a scorer. "He's one of the best players in the world, so he does things that only a small percentage of players can do," forward Nic Dowd said. "It's fun to watch but he's also a leader by example. He goes out there and he plays hard every game, he's blocking shots, he's winning big-time faceoffs, killing penalties and playing a lot of minutes." In Kopitar's absence, Jeff Carter has stepped up with four goals and two assists in the past three games. "[Kopitar] is a quieter guy, but he doesn't need to say a whole lot," Dowd said. "Him and Carter are definitely lugging the mail."

 
Islanders projected lineup

Josh Bailey -- John Tavares -- Anthony Beauvillier

Nikolay Kulemin -- Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome

Anders Lee -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Andrew Ladd -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Adam Pelech

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Jean-Francois Berube, Scott Mayfield, Shane Prince

Injured: Mikhail Grabovski (concussion), Ryan Pulock (lower body), Dennis Seidenberg (upper body)

 
Kings projected lineup

Dwight King -- Anze Kopitar -- Trevor Lewis

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Dustin Brown -- Nic Dowd -- Devin Setoguchi

Kyle Clifford -- Nick Shore -- Teddy Purcell

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Kevin Gravel -- Matt Greene

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Tom Gilbert

Injured: Jonathan Quick (groin), Andy Andreoff (thumb), Brayden McNabb (collarbone), Marian Gaborik (broken foot)

 

Status report

Kopitar skated with King and Lewis at the morning skate and the line of Pearson, Carter and Toffoli remained together. The successful second line that helped the Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs has combined for seven goals in the past five games. … Gaborik said he's aiming for a return on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks but Kings coach Darryl Sutter would not confirm.

 

Who's hot

Dowd has three assists in four games. … Martinez has a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists). … Toffoli has a goal and three assists in three games. … Setoguchi has a goal and two assists in four games. … Tavares has one goal and seven assists in the past 10 games. … Nelson has two goals in four games. … Bailey has a goal and two assists in four games. 

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