Kings-Islanders Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 10, 2012
While the Los Angeles Kings are in the Western Conference playoff picture despite their offensive struggles, the New York Islanders are near the bottom of the East because of theirs. Both the Kings and the Islanders look to bounce back from defeats when two of the league's lowest-scoring teams meet Saturday night on Long Island. Los Angeles (29-19-10) sits in seventh place in the West despite an NHL-low 119 goals, scoring one or none in six of the last 10 games. The Kings don't have one player among the league's top 50 goal scorers and have been held to two or fewer 39 times this season, going 11-19-9. They are 15-0-1 when scoring at least three times. Los Angeles has totaled five goals while going 1-3-0 thus far on a six-game road trip, including Thursday's 3-1 loss to Florida. "It's more of the same for us," said captain Dustin Brown, who assisted on Drew Doughty's goal but failed to score for a seventh straight game. "We've got to find ways to score more goals." The same goes for the Islanders, who have a conference-low 128 goals after falling 4-2 to Montreal on Thursday. They trailed 3-0 with less than three minutes remaining before scoring two goals 48 seconds apart. Captain Mark Streit, who scored the second goal, said the deficit was too much to overcome. "It was frustrating at the start," Streit said. "We had a hard time getting back. There was not enough on our part." New York (22-23-8) has played well of late overall, though, going 6-2-2 in its last 10 as Evgeni Nabokov has gone 5-2-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average. Jonathan Quick has helped the Kings overcome their scoring struggles by allowing no more than two goals in 14 of his last 16 starts, going 8-4-4 with a 1.44 GAA. Coach Darryl Sutter said it was not due to Quick's play that he pulled his goaltender before the third period Thursday, but rather a move to attempt to spark his team that hasn't been able to score enough for Quick most of the season. "No big deal, just something different," Sutter said. If Quick is back in net Saturday, he'll need more support against the Islanders this time around. He made 23 saves in the most recent meeting, but the Kings had their six-game winning streak in the series snapped with a 3-0 loss Feb. 19. Quick had won his previous four starts versus the Islanders, allowing five goals. Matt Moulson scored twice in that contest to help end New York's six-game home winless streak to Los Angeles. Moulson had six goals and four assists in 29 games over two seasons from 2007-09 while playing for the Kings before signing with the Islanders prior to the 2009-10 campaign. He's scored at least 30 goals in each of the past two seasons and his 24 currently lead the team, though Thursday marked only his second goal in eight games. Anze Kopitar, the Kings' leader with 17 goals and 31 assists, has four goals and three assists in seven career games versus New York. He has two goals and an assist over his last three games overall. It's unclear who will be in net for the Islanders, though Nabokov has won his last two starts against the Kings while stopping 69 of 71 shots.
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