The New York Islanders are 30 miles away from where they played last night for their second game in two nights. They’re looking to bounce back from last night’s effort, a four to one loss against the Anaheim Ducks. Tonight’s game is a schedule loss for them - the Los Angeles Kings are on three days rest which puts the Islanders at a pretty decent disadvantage in this one.
Last night was the first time this season that the Islanders lead their opponents in five-on-five possession. They topped the Ducks in just about every category with the exception of shots on net after score adjustments, but they also have the best goalie in the league so far and he didn’t let up a goal until the last minute of the game with the Ducks carrying a three to nothing lead. Thomas Greiss wasn’t great with a -.46 GSAA/60, but the team has to score more than one goal on most nights if they wish to stand a chance.
The Kings are not as mighty as they once were and they’ve struggled to start this season. With that said, they still possess the the reigning Selke winner in Anze Kopitar (UPDATE: Kopitar is out), a returning Ilya Kovalchuk, and plenty of other weapons. They’ve assembled a pretty lackluster bottom six however and this game would be much more winnable if not for the difference in rest.
There are plenty of line changes to go around as Adam Pelech comes in for Luca Sbisa on defense, Matt Martin is back in for Ross Johnston, and Robin Lehner is back in net. It’s smart to split the days off and give some of the guys rest in the west coast back-to-back and the plan was always to start Lehner in this one, so none of these are overly surprising or anything to be concerned about. Tom Kuhnhackl will be the other healthy scratch.
Tonight’s game is as late as they come - it’s a 10:30 P.M. E.S.T. start. Get your coffee ready for the A.M. while you can.