By: David Kolb
LOS ANGELES KINGS (22-19-4) @ NEW YORK ISLANDERS (18-17-8)
SECOND OF TWO
Tonight the Islanders wrap up their season series with the Los Angeles Kings, as they welcome the Kings to Barclays Center for the second of two games the clubs will play this season. The Kings doubled-up the Isles in their first contest, winning 4-2 at Staples Center on Nov. 23. The Islanders earned a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars in Doug Weight’s debut as Islanders’ interim coach Thursday, and the Isles have now won back-to-back games via shutout after blanking the Boston Bruins 4-0 last Monday. The Kings meanwhile, come to New York after dropping two straight one-goal games, including Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
TAVARES ON A TEAR
Isles’ captain, John Tavares scored two goals and finished the night a plus-3, helping the Isles get past Dallas 3-0 Thursday. Tavares enters tonight’s game red-hot, scoring seven goals in his past four contests. No. 91 now has 18 goals and 16 assists for 34 points with 21 of them coming on home-ice.
KEEPING AN EYE ON CARTER
The Isles’ defense will need to keep a close eye on Kings’ leading scorer, Jeff Carter, as he has been phenomenal with the puck throughout the first half of the season. Carter has 23 goals and 40 points this season, including seven power play goals and an amazing eight game-winning goals. Carter comes to Brooklyn with the hot-hand, as he’s been the Kings biggest producer in January, scoring three goals with six assists for nine points in eight contests.
BERUBE BETWEEN THE PIPES
Although goalie Thomas Greiss has recorded two straight shutouts, Jean-Francois Berube will get the start tonight between the pipes for the Islanders and Greiss will most likely face the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday. Berube is still looking for his first win of the season, as he enters tonight’s tilt with an 0-2-1 record with a 3.14 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
Johnny Boychuk missed Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury, while Andrew Ladd (upper body) and Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) have missed the last two games and are now considered day-to-day. With Ladd and Boychuk out of the lineup, defenseman, Thomas Hickey wore the “A” serving as one of the Islanders’ alternate captains for the first time this season.