Neither the Los Angeles Kings nor the New York Islanders have found much consistency lately.
Stringing together victories could prove even more difficult moving forward without Jonathan Quick for the Kings, who turn to Ben Scrivens in net Wednesday night when they visit the Islanders.
Los Angeles (11-6-1) started its four-game trip in disappointing fashion with a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday at Buffalo, which had lost nine of its last 11 games. Even though the Kings, who have split their last six games, amassed a 45-17 advantage in shots, they still needed a goal from Dwight King with 3:34 left in the third period to force overtime and salvage a point.
The bigger loss might have been Quick, who left with 1:20 remaining in overtime with a lower-body injury. Scrivens played the remainder of the game, only seeing shots in the shootout. Scrivens is 1-1-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average in two starts.
"It's obviously tough going into the game late like that and going into the shootout but I've got to find a way to make a save in the shootout there," he said after failing to stop two of the three attempts. "That's my job."
Quick is headed back to Los Angeles for further evaluation on what is a hamstring or groin-related injury, according to the team's official website. The Kings recalled 23-year-old netminder Marvin Jones from the AHL to back up Scrivens for the time being.
Scrivens struggled in his only career start versus New York, surrendering five goals on 25 shots in a 7-4 loss for the Maple Leafs on Jan. 24.
The Islanders (7-9-3) were without Thomas Vanek for a second straight game due to an upper-body injury on Tuesday but still pulled out a 3-1 home victory over Nashville after going winless on a four-game trip.
Goaltenders Kevin Poulin and Evgeni Nabokov had a difficult time during that skid, combining for a 4.00 GAA. Poulin made 32 saves on Tuesday and New York held the Predators scoreless on two power plays after allowing eight power-play goals on 17 chances during the road swing.
John Tavares pushed his team-leading point total to 22 with a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 7-2-1 when scoring at least three goals.
"'I like that we got our speed going and put together a solid team effort tonight," Tavares said. "It was important that we came home and played a strong game like this. Hopefully we can build on it."
The Kings could be an ideal opponent for Vanek to return against, as he has seven points in his last five matchups with them.
Nabokov is 3-0-0 with 0.99 goals-against average over his last three starts versus Los Angeles.
The Kings' Mike Richards, who has nine points in his last five games, has 14 points in his last 14 games against the Islanders, while Jeff Carter has two goals and two assists in his last three meetings.
New York has won two straight in the series after dropping six in a row.