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Preview: Red-hot Islanders in town to face the Kings, who continue to exist as a team

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Los Angeles Kings v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

How to Watch

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: Fox Sports West, ESPN+ (Go here for more information on subscribing)

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Lighthouse Hockey

What to Watch

In case you haven’t been paying much attention to the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders are doing pretty well for themselves. They had a 10-game winning streak through October and November, followed by a five-game winning streak. Prior to Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, the Islanders hadn’t lost in regulation since October 11. Through their 17-game points streak, the Islanders scored 57 goals (not including two shoot-out goals), including nine games where they scored four or more times. (For comparison, the Kings have scored 63 goals total all season.)

The Islanders not only hit a brick wall by the name of John Gibson, but they’ve also been trending downwards in terms of shots and shot attempts. Their defensive efforts and strong goaltending have been hiding some potentially alarming numbers for the Islanders as of late.

The Islanders are currently led in scoring by Mathew Barzal (20 points in 22 games) and Brock Nelson (19 points in 22 games). While Nelson couldn’t find the back of the net in the Islanders’ losses to the Ducks and Sharks, he recently had a five-game points streak, featuring two game-winning goals in overtime. In those five games, he had 19 shots on goal and, overall, is a player who’s going to shoot the puck when it lands on his stick.

If there’s anywhere the Islanders may want to look for improvement, it’s in depth scoring. Jordan Eberle has zero goals this season. The veteran player has been struggling to produce, seeing his ice time cut in recent games. The Islanders would want nothing more than to see him get on the scoresheet and provide more viable options past Barzal, Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier.

And if there’s anything the Kings are good at, it’s letting opposing players find their games — and the back of the net — again.

For Los Angeles, there will be a few roster changes, with Carl Grundstrom practicing with the Reign and Matt Luff practicing with the Kings. Paul LaDue was called up but stayed late at practice, so expect Kurtis MacDermid to draw in while LaDue serves as the extra body for the night. Nikolai Prokhorkin appears to be the scratch tonight for the forwards.

The Kings have had some snippets of strong performances to draw on lately. While they still struggle to put together a full, consistent 60-minute effort, they can look back at the way they played while pressing the Sharks to tie the game up, or their dominance (without the expected goals) as the Coyotes game progressed. But — as is a familiar tune around here — they need to come out ready to play from puck drop, rather than allowing the Islanders to set the pace and tone from the beginning.

While it feels like this year, the Kings are rarely truly out of a game, their jobs would be made much easier if they didn’t have to spend twenty-some minutes climbing out of a self-dug hole against an opponent.

Projected Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

New York Islanders