Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Islanders Pick & Prediction MARCH 11th 2024

It took the New York Islanders just two weeks to jump from 12th place in the Eastern Conference into the second wild-card spot.

Now the Islanders only have to wait a day for an opportunity to even more drastically improve their playoff positioning.

The Islanders will look to continue their timely surge Monday night when they complete a back-to-back road set by visiting the Los Angeles Kings.

The Islanders extended their season-long winning streak to six games Sunday night when they routed the Anaheim Ducks 6-1. The Kings continued a five-game homestand Saturday night and fell to the Dallas Stars 4-1.

Casey Cizikas, Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson scored in the first period Sunday night as the Islanders wasted little time taking control against the Ducks and positioning themselves to move into a wild card spot for the first time since Jan. 13.

Seven days later, New York fired head coach Lane Lambert and replaced him with Patrick Roy. The Hall of Famer was 3-5-3 in his first 11 games at the helm as the Islanders fell nine points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the East’s final wild card spot.

But the Islanders have outscored the opposition 30-11 since Feb. 26, when the six-game winning streak began, to move into a tie for the final wild-card spot with the Detroit Red Wings at 72 points apiece. New York is officially in eighth place because it has a game in hand on Detroit.

And with another win Monday, the Islanders would move into a tie with the Lightning for the first wild-card spot as well as into a tie with the Philadelphia Flyers for third place and the final guaranteed playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. New York currently has two games in hand apiece on Tampa Bay and Philadelphia with both teams idle Monday.

“There’s 19 games left — it’s a long road,” Palmieri told Newsday. “But I think, realistically, it’s better to be in that spot than chasing one.”

The Islanders will be playing a team whose postseason positioning looks far more secure, though the Kings are likely to be focused following Saturday’s disappointing loss to the Stars.

The Kings are tied for third place in the Pacific Division with the Vegas Golden Knights, though the two teams both will have played 64 games after Monday. Los Angeles also is six points clear of the Minnesota Wild, the ninth-place team in the Western Conference, and will have a game in hand after Monday.

But the Kings have lost four of their past five games (1-3-1) against teams currently occupying a playoff spot. Los Angeles fell to the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Feb. 22 and lost to the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Feb. 26 before earning a 5-1 win on Feb. 29 over the Vancouver Canucks, who won the rematch, 2-1, in overtime last Tuesday.

Kevin Fiala scored 26 seconds after faceoff Saturday night for the Kings, who were outshot 35-25 and gave up the tying and game-winning goals within an 18-second span just beyond the midway point of the second period.

“They played a playoff-style game and we did not, and therefore, that’s the result,” Kings interim head coach Jim Hiller said. “To beat a team like that, you’ve got to play a playoff-style game. We didn’t have it in us.”

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping