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Preview: Kings at Lightning

Tampa Bay tries for consecutive wins; Los Angeles defenseman Paul LaDue to make NHL debut

by Corey Long / Correspondent

KINGS (27-22-4) at LIGHTNING (23-24-6)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV

Kings team scope

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Paul LaDue is expected to make his NHL debut Tuesday. LaDue, a sixth-round pick (No. 181) in the 2012 NHL Draft, was called up from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Feb. 1 after defenseman Tom Gilbert cleared waivers and was sent to Ontario. LaDue has six goals and 12 assists in 36 AHL games. The Kings are 4-1-0 in their past five road games and have the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames. They will finish their four-game road trip against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, then don't play again until the following Thursday. Goaltender Peter Budaj is expected to start. He was named the NHL Third Star of the Week on Monday after going 3-1-0 with two shutouts, a 1.62 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in four games.

Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 20-22 as they try to climb out of 16th place in the Eastern Conference. The Lightning had 82 shot attempts in their 3-2 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, and defenseman Victor Hedman said he expects that effort to continue moving forward. "Obviously it was good to get one against Anaheim," Hedman said. "If we give more efforts like that we will get results. We just have to focus on what we can control right now and that's to win as many games as possible." The emergence of rookie defenseman Jake Dotchin has helped the Lightning shore up some issues on the blue line. He's plus-3 in his past three games. Coach Jon Cooper said pairing Dotchin with Hedman has been beneficial to Dotchin's recent success. "Victor can make guys around him better," Cooper said. "So to have two big guys like that together, and Jake is a little bit more of a [stay-at-home] defender and he can help defend with Victor. We think it's a really good pairing." 

Kings projected lineup

Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford -- Nic Dowd -- Andy Andreoff

Jake Muzzin -- Drew Doughty

Derek Forbort -- Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb -- Paul LaDue

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Devin Setoguchi, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Jonathan Quick (groin), Jordan Nolan (lower body), Matt Greene (back)


Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Jonathan Drouin

Brian Boyle -- Valtteri Filppula -- Joel Vermin

Gabriel Dumont -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Ondrej Palat (lower body), Ryan Callahan (hip), Steven Stamkos (knee), Michael Bournival (upper body), Adam Erne (broken foot)

Status report

Quick, who is traveling with the Kings, was on the ice again as part of his rehabilitation. … Palat took part in the optional morning skate. Bournival practiced in a regular jersey Sunday and Monday and is likely to return by the weekend. Paquette practiced Monday and is expected to play Tuesday after leaving the game Saturday in the third period.

Who's hot

Kopitar has one goal and five assists in his past five games. Carter has three goals and one assist in his past four games. … Point has two goals in three games since returning from injury Jan. 31. Killorn has three goals and three assists in his past five games.

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