Los Angeles Kings (36-23-14) at New York Islanders (44-25-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday March 26, 2015, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New York Islanders / Los Angeles Kings --- Over/Under:
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+. Start your 7-day FREE trial today!|
There’s going to be a lot of scoreboard watching down the stretch for the Los Angeles Kings, but if they keep putting together games like their last two they won’t have too much to worry about.
Heading into this five game road trip a lot of people around the league felt like it would make or break the Kings season. If the first two games are any indication, Los Angeles is going to be causing a lot of problems for teams come the playoffs.
Los Angeles dominated Monday night’s win over the New Jersey Devils, and while they didn’t get off to a good start on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, they still found a way to overcome and find a win.
Robyn Reghr’s second goal of the season tied the game at 1-1 after Jonathan Quick had allowed a goal just 51 seconds in, and the Kings never looked back from there. Marian Gaborik’s 23rd of the season snapped the tie for good and the Kings cruised to a 4-2 win. Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin added third period goals in what was another crucial game for this Kings club that is still currently on the outside looking in.
It’s hard to imagine this Los Angeles club not making the post season when all they have to do is overtake one of Calgary, Vancouver, or Winnipeg. The Flames are a young team that might be ahead of schedule, the Canucks are about as bipolar as a hockey club can get, and though the Jets might be the best of the three teams they have their own problems as well.
If Los Angeles can find a way to pick up another two points against the New York Islanders on Thursday night they have set themselves up extremely nicely heading into Minnesota and Chicago.
For the New York Islanders it isn’t about trying to make the post season, but rather trying to find a way to get back to a higher level of play that we saw earlier in the season. Things have not been especially good to the Islanders since the All-Star break and heading into Thursday night’s contest they have lost six of their last eight games overall. The club has played better defensive lately but their offense has completely dried up. This is a team that has been one of the best in the league offensively all year long, but lately they just can’t put the puck in the back of the net.
That again was a problem on Tuesday at home against the Minnesota Wild. John Tavares broke a scoreless tie with his 34th goal of the season coming late in the second period, but that would be the only offense for New York on the night. Minnesota would tie the game midway through the third period and eventually go on to win 2-1 in a shootout.
The Islanders are at risk of losing home ice advantage to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs, and they also could be in trouble of falling into a wild card spot if they stay cold and the Washington Capitals get hot. Los Angeles is still the more desperate of the teams despite New York’s struggles, and they’re also playing the better hockey right now.