Scuffling Islanders face tough test in visit to Kings
ISLANDERS (4-9-3) at KINGS (11-3-0)
TV -- MSG PLUS (HD), FS-West (HD)
Last 10 --
New York 1-8-1; Los Angeles 8-2-0
Season series --
This is the first of two meetings between these teams. The Kings took both games last season, 2-1 on Oct. 12, 2009, on Long Island, and 1-0 in Los Angeles on March 20.
-- The Islanders have lost nine straight games, eight of them in regulation. The Kings have won five straight and seven of eight. They are 7-0-0 at Staples Center this season, matching the best home start in franchise history.
If you're desperately searching for a silver lining, the Islanders are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sharks on Thursday. It was their first point in a game since Oct. 21. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson
made 37 saves.
"I guess that's a positive, but close doesn't cut it any more," Roloson said. "We have to stop the bleeding right now."
At 1.93 goals-against per game, the Kings are the stingiest defensive team in the League. Goaltender Jonathan Quick is coming off a 27-save performance in the Kings' 3-1 win against the Stars on Thursday. He's 9-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average and .944 save percentage this season.
All of that combined with their success at home makes playing in Staples Center a daunting task.
"Every team is coming in here expecting a hard game, and they're raising their games accordingly," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We're not going to catch anybody by surprise this year. If we've got to play a physical game, we have big, strong guys who can answer the bell. I think we can handle it."
Who's hot --
Roloson has allowed just four goals in his last three games, but he's 0-2-1 in that span thanks to a lack of offensive support. … Kings forward Justin Williams scored the game-winner Thursday and has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 6 games.
Injury report --
The Islanders remain without three of their top six defensemen -- Mark Streit
(shoulder surgery), Andrew MacDonald
(broken hand) and Milan Jurcina
(hamstring), none of whom is close to returning. Neither is forward Kyle Okposo
(shoulder surgery). ... Defenseman Willie Mitchell (wrist) and forward Alexei Ponikarovsky (finger) are out for the Kings.
Stat pack --
The first year of the 19-year-old Kyle Clifford's entry-level contract has kicked in after 10 games, meaning he's much less likely to be sent back to his junior team in Barrie (OHL). ... The Islanders haven't scored more than two goals in a game in their last seven contests, and have a total of seven goals in that span.
Puck drop --
"We played great but it's tough. It's got to end Saturday. It's so important for us to score the first goal and get a lead. We have to generate offense." -- Islanders forward PA Parenteau.