KINGS (21-18-12) at LIGHTNING (33-15-5)
2:00PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
NEED A SPARK: Tonight marks the first of two meetings with the Lightning this season; Tampa Bay will visit STAPLES Center in just over a week on February 16. The Lightning come into the night with points in their last four games (3-0-1), and in seven of their last eight (6-1-1). Tampa Bay is coming off of a 5-3 loss Thursday night. The Kings are 0-3-0 so far on their five-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Tampa Bay is seeking their 11th-straight win on home ice at Amalie Arena.
SETTING THE SETTING: Tampa Bay’s Amalie Arena houses the NHL’s best team on home ice this season, the Lightning carrying a 21-4-1 record through 26 games in their home building. The Kings, on the other hand, own the league’s 29th-best road record, only ahead of the Buffalo Sabres for the worst mark in the league going 5-12-6 away from STAPLES Center. Can the Kings find some road success in what has been the league’s toughest building for opponents this season?
LINEUP NOTES: There is a level of uncertainty with today’s lines due to the fact that the Kings did not hold a morning skate at Amalie Arena because of the 5:00 PM local game start. At Friday’s practice in Tampa Bay, the Kings skated with the same lines they did Thursday night against Florida, but with Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford swapping spots on the third and fourth lines. It will not be known whether Jonathan Quick or Martin Jones get the call in net until warm-ups.
GABORIK – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
LEWIS – STOLL – WILLIAMS
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
MARTINEZ – GREENE
REGEHR - MCBAIN
PLAYOFF PRIORITY: The Kings cannot continue to lose at this pace if they want any hopes of contending for a playoff spot this season. The Kings are currently five points behind the Vancouver Canucks for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot – with three teams in between. With the final spot is predicted to need 95 points at season’s end, the Kings would need to finish their final 31 games with a 20-10-1 record. The Kings, with zero points collected through three games of their road trip so far, are desperate to earn a pair today in Tampa Bay.
THE LAST TIME AROUND: The last time the Kings played in Tampa Bay, at the-then called Tampa Bay Times Forum on October 15 of last season, they fell hard ion a 5-1 loss. The Lightning got out to an early 3-0 lead, the Kings responded with one, but Tampa Bay kept rolling. Jonathan Quick and Ben Scrivens split time in the loss, Slava Voynov scored the only Kings goal. The Kings are 3-1-1 in their last five games played at Amalie Arena, dating back to November 6, 2003.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 1:30PM PT, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from Amalie Arena for puck drop at 2:00PM PT.