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New York Islanders at Los Angeles Kings: Varlamov returns [Game #48]

The Isles liked how they played in San Jose, so no changes except in goal.

NHL: JAN 27 Kings at Islanders
Always chasing...
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New York Islanders felt they had one of their best efforts of the season despite taking a shootout loss in San Jose Thursday, so they’ll trot out the same lineup of skaters tonight.

That means Josh Bailey remains a scratch (as does Andy Greene, which has enabled a long run of games for Sebastian Aho). The only difference is in goal, where Semyon Varlamov will get his first start since being quarantined in Canada during this month’s first Western trip.

While the Islanders continue to fade from the Eastern playoff race — okay, I guess you technically have to be there first before you can fade away — the Kings are in the thick of it out West.

At the start of tonight, the Kings held the second position in the Pacific, however that’s actually one point behind the first wild card team (Nashville) and just two points ahead of #HereComeTheOilers.

So while Thursday’s Isles effort felt promising in some ways, it was another case of them putting it together against the league’s lesser competition. Tonight should be a better test of...whatever it is we’re still testing as they sit 18 points out of the Eastern wild card seats.

Here’s Barry Trotz talking about tonight and the Kings, where he has high praise for their four centers:

It’s another 10:30 EST start — but note that tomorrow night in Anaheim is an “early” 8:30 start.