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New York Islanders vs. Los Angeles Kings Preview: Conacher's turn on the scratchwagon

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I'm sure there's a very reasonable explanation for all of this.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the New York Islanders sat Casey Cizikas and dressed Eric Boulton for his first game of the season. Boulton didn't screw it up, so tonight in Anaheim it's Cory Conacher's turn to hop on the scratchwagon and take in a game from the press box.

He is survived by a fourth line -- against the Stanley Cup champions, the standard-bearers of going four lines deep -- of Matt Martin, Cizikas and Boulton. Last night, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf were out with the flu. Tonight, to face the Isles' second half of their smog-and-cars back-to-back, recently injured Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik are in the Kings lineup (though Justin Williams is out). Plus, Chad Johnson is in net. This should be interesting.

Islanders (7-5, 2nd/Metro) @ Kings (7-4-2, 4th/Pacific)
10:30 p.m. EST | MSG+ |
Newsday beatwriters] Center
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If you're keeping score at home, this is the latest line mix:

Kulemin - Tavares - Okposo
Grabovski - Nielsen - Clutterbuck
Lee - Nelson - Strome
Martin - Cizikas - Boulton

They'll need offense from the first line and kid line, smothering coverage from the Nielsen line, and a dark, quiet hiding place for the fourth line. Because Darryl Sutter will find them. And he will exploit them.

Also, Johnson needs to have a game reminiscent of his Boston days.

The Kings lines, per, look like this:

Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Jordan Nolan
Tanner PearsonJeff CarterTyler Toffoli
Dwight KingMike RichardsDustin Brown
Kyle CliffordJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Who Are the Kings?

Back before Gary Bettman was blamed for everything wrong with the NHL, there was the original "sunbelt" expansion in 1967. It included the Los Angeles Kings and Oakland California Oakland Golden California Seals, who were located in some backwater growing state no on ever heard of except all the other major professional sports who were already there.

Yada yada yada, the Kings have been around almost 50 years and now have two Stanley Cups. (The Isles are younger and have four, but whatever.) They've had enough silly logo changes to make a Canuck blush, but that's not important right now.

Point is, Eurasia has always been at war with Oceania, the Kings have always been a gaudy crown, I mean purple, I mean silver, I mean black, I mean purple, or maybe gold, or is it "Forum blue," and the NHL has always wanted to grow and expand where the majority of the North American population continues to migrate. Deal with it.

It tends to work over the long term. These people are now so enamored with hockey that they can even tolerate a replay of Cartman's voice over and over and over in the name of the team.

Who Are We?

The Royal Half is true to form with its meta-preview tonight: These photoshops of the Brooklyn influence on the Islanders fanbase, marketing and roster are something(s) to behold.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks over yonder. You have 3.5 more hours than usual to get them in, because this game is being played on Hawaii time. Don't pick Conacher.