(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings will try to pick up a third straight win at the start of an important road trip when they visit the New York Islanders for Thursday's clash at Nassau Coliseum.
The defending Stanley Cup champions are in a tight race for a playoff spot out West and a 2-0 mark to begin a five-game swing has helped their chances. Los Angeles posted a 3-1 decision in New Jersey on Monday before beating the New York Rangers, 4-2, the following night in a rematch of last spring's Cup Finals.
L.A. is two points out of the last wild card spot in the Western Conference and just one behind Calgary for the third postseason berth from the Pacific Division. The Kings have a game in hand to use over the idle Flames tonight. Los Angeles also has played one fewer game than the Winnipeg Jets, who hold the last wild card berth and are hosting Montreal on Thursday.
The Kings, who beat New York in six games for their second Cup in three seasons, dealt the Rangers just their second loss in nine outings on Tuesday night. Jonathan Quick led a strong all-around effort with 34 saves, while Marian Gaborik, Jeff Carter, Robyn Regehr and Jake Muzzin provided the goals.
"It does seem like we do play good hockey when our backs are against the wall," said Kings center Anze Kopitar. "We dug ourselves a hole, so we've gotta climb out of it."
Kopitar recorded two assists to extend his point streak to four games. The Slovenian star has compiled 11 assists and 14 points over his last 11 outings and is leading L.A. with 59 points this season.
The Kings have won five of their last six road games, improving their away record to 14-14-7.
L.A. hopes to take care of business against another New York club tonight, when they visit the struggling Islanders.
The Isles are sitting second in the Metropolitan Division with 93 points, but have lost five of their last six games. They have earned points in the last two outings, however, picking up a 3-0 win Saturday in New Jersey before dropping a shootout decision Tuesday against Minnesota.
New York began a four-game homestand with a 2-1 defeat against the Wild, who won their 10th straight road game. The Islanders went ahead 1-0 late in the second period on John Tavares' 34th goal of the season, but Zach Parise evened the score for Minnesota with 8:15 remaining in the third.
Parise also recorded the only goal of the shootout, beating Jaroslav Halak on Minnesota's first attempt. The shot rang off the left post and hit Halak in the back before slipping into the goal.
Devan Dubnyk then stopped Kyle Okposo and Tavares to seal the win.
"You need to shut the door when you have the lead," said Tavares. "We got a bad bounce there and it's unfortunate, but we were able to get a point out of it."
Halak made 31 stops for the Islanders, who sit two points ahead of Pittsburgh in the division and are five in front of fourth-place Washington. Both the Capitals and Penguins are in action on Thursday.
The Isles fell to 23-12-1 at home after Tuesday's shootout defeat. Including tonight's game, the club has five regular-season games remaining at the Coliseum. New York will relocate to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after this season.
The Kings are hoping to avenge a loss from earlier this season, as the Isles notched a 2-1 shootout win at the Staples Center on Nov. 6. It was the third win in the last five meetings for New York, but L.A. is 4-1-1 in its last six trips to Long Island.