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Preview: Lightning at Kings

Tampa Bay begins six-game road trip; Kings try for third consecutive win

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (20-20-4) at KINGS (22-17-4)

4 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, SUN, NHL.TV

Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning begin a six-game road trip at the Los Angeles Kings; they won't return to Amalie Arena until Jan. 31. The Lightning are 1-5-0 in their past six games and 6-9-3 in their past 18. Tampa Bay hasn't fared better on the road, going 8-12-2 this season. Forward Ryan Callahan has missed Tampa Bay's past three games with a lower-body injury, and the Lightning said Sunday he's expected to miss approximately four weeks. However, the Lightning aren't using Callahan's absence as an excuse. "The results are all that matters," center Brian Boyle told the Tampa Bay Times. "We need to change our attitude a little bit, kind of find our mojo, carry ourselves with a little bit more confidence. We can score quick goals. We can come from behind, jump out to leads and bury teams. We've done that in the past with this group."


Kings team scope

The Kings have won their past two games after a stretch of inconsistent play and begin the day holding the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "We're fighting for a playoff spot right now," defenseman Derek Forbert said, "so I think everyone's desperation level is pretty high right now. That's the way we have to play if we want to win." The Kings have scored 16 goals in their past four games, winning three of them. From goaltender Peter Budaj's view, the Kings have been able to capitalize by getting to the dirty areas in front of the net. "You need to be intense, you need to want to score and you want to go to the dirty areas that the puck lays around the net," Budaj said. "Go in the corners, go in the screens … 70-80 percent of the goals in the NHL are from point shots, screens, tips, rebounds. Those are the goals. You rarely have the highlight goals, they're very rare but that's why we have to just do that."

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Vladislav Namestnikov -- Nikita Kucherov

Brian Boyle -- Valtteri Filppula -- Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Joel Vermin

Gabriel Dumont -- Michael Bournival -- Cedric Paquette

Victor Hedman -- Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Luke Witkowski

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Braydon Coburn

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Brayden Point (upper body), J.T. Brown (upper body), Ryan Callahan (lower body)


Kings projected lineup

Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Trevor Lewis

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Dustin Brown

Andy Andreoff -- Nic Dowd -- Devin Setoguchi

Kyle Clifford -- Nick Shore -- Dwight King

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Kevin Gravel -- Matt Greene

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Jordan Nolan, Tom Wilson, Brayden McNabb

Injured: Tyler Toffoli (lower body), Jonathan Quick (groin)


Status report

The Lightning assigned forward Matthew Peca to Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Sunday and recalled Vermin.


Who's hot

Drouin has two goals and three assists in his past four games. Palat has four points in two games. … Carter has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak; he scored in overtime to give the Kings a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday and has nine goals and seven assists in his past 12 games. Pearson has four points in four games. Muzzin has three goals and two assists in his past four games. Kopitar has seven points during a four-game point streak. Doughty has five points in five games.

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