You know what’s cooler than tying a club record?
Stomping on the New York Islanders for your 8th consecutive win at home to break a club record.
Tying club records was so last year.
Tonight the team that should have drafted Matt Duchene heads into Staples in an attempt to spoil all our fun. You can’t really blame the Islanders. They live at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and actually have a longer streak going than the Kings 7-0-0 start at home. The Islanders have lost 9 consecutive games. Since October 21, the Islanders have picked up a single point, coming just last Thursday as they lost to the San Jose Sharks in a shootout.
Part of the Iced Tea’s struggles have come because they have been missing two of their best players since training camp. Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit have yet to play a single game. Imagine the Kings losing Justin Williams and Drew Doughty for 3-6 months due to shoulder surgery. Moment of silence, shed a small tear. Then, collect yourself, scowl and remember that the Kings have Jack Johnson and Ryan Smyth. We have depth, of which the Islanders have little. James Wisniewski is their top defenseman and Matt Moulson is their best winger. Go ahead and reinsert that tear back in the duct from whence is seeped.
Enough about them.
Jonathan Quick will be starting in goal for the Los Angeles Kings. Rick DiPietro looks to be on the other end of the ice. (UPDATE** If Dwayne Roloson ends up starting, which it looks like he might, then forgive my mistake and simply replace the words ‘DiPietro’ with ‘Roloson’ where ever it appears. The thoughts will work both ways.) Williams looks to extend an 8 game point streak that has seen our top flight winger in the rough score 5 goals and 5 assists. Shouldn’t be too difficult for the Kings hottest player to diminish DiPietro’s .854 (.924 for Roloson) save percentage and 4.21 (2.10 for Roloson) goals against average a little further.
The Kings are coming off their most brutal game of season. After squeaking out a win against the Dallas Stars, this is the ‘back on track’ game for Terry Murray. Though the Isles feature jesters and ghouls in Wisniewski and Zenon Konopka, this game will likely not be nearly as heated as the last, unless of course you are talking about the hole that will be burning in the back of DiPietro’s net.
Look for a tight checking, shutdown game. The Kings will open up the scoring and let the Isle’s wounds as soon as possible, but against such an offensively starved team, the focus must be on defense. This may seem backwards to you but the Isles can not be given a speckle of light. Games like this are to hone your system and sharpen your teeth.
Which brings us to the keys for the game:
- Pepper DiPietro. This is one of those “shoot from everywhere” games. Turn what the Isles call a defense around and fluster the goalie.
- Ignore Wisniewki. He’s a chump.
- Drew Doughty, step it up. The Isles are not a very fast team so hopefully our star defenseman’s lack of conditioning will be less noticeable tonight.
- Jack Johnson, build on your last game. Having finally gotten a goal, off a wrist shot, focus on getting as many shots through as possible. The order of desirable operations descends from getting the puck on net, to trying to find corners to pick, to shooting the puck as hard as possible. Shooting as hard as possible is one of Jack’s favorite things to do but alas, its not that important.
- Play the Isles with the same intensity as you would play the Capitals. No prisoners, no solace, no remorse.