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game preview

Lightning at Kings preview

Tampa Bay's 26 points lead NHL; Los Angeles third with 24

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (12-2-2) at KINGS (11-2-2)

10:30 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-W, SN, NHL.TV 


The Game

Two of the NHL's best teams will face off when the Tampa Bay Lightning play the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday.

The Lightning lead the League with 26 points and the Kings are third with 24, one point behind the St. Louis Blues.

Tampa Bay, 6-1-1 in its previous eight games, has one regulation loss in its past 14 games (11-1-2) and has earned a point in its past six road games (5-0-1), including a 5-1 win at the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.

Los Angeles, 5-1-1 in its past seven games, has earned a point in all seven home games (5-0-2) and is coming off a 4-3 overtime win at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.


Players to watch

Forward Nikita Kucherov is the Lightning's second player since center Steven Stamkos in 2010-11 to score 15 goals in his first 16 games. 

Kings center Anze Kopitar extended his point streak to six games (two goals, six assists) with a goal and an assist against the Ducks.


They said it

"Sometimes at home you're always worrying about matchups and stuff. On the road, you just go out and play, and sometimes it just works out that way. I don't think there is any rhyme or reason to it." -- Lightning center Steven Stamkos

"They want to get four or five goals every game, and they are willing to give up three or four goals it seems, too. They like to be in a high-scoring kind of track meet type of game." -- Kings defenseman Drew Doughty on the Lightning


Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Yanni Gourde

Chris Kunitz -- Tyler Johnson -- Ryan Callahan

Alex Killorn -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Dan Girardi

Slater Koekkoek

Peter Budaj

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Andrej Sustr, Gabriel Dumont

Injured: Cedric Paquette (upper body)


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Adrian Kempe -- Tyler Toffoli

Andy Andreoff -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Michael Cammalleri -- Brooks Laich -- Nic Dowd

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Kurtis MacDermid -- Oscar Fantenberg

Jonathan Quick

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Michael Amadio, Christian Folin

Injured: Jeff Carter (ankle), Kyle Clifford (upper body), Marian Gaborik (knee)


Status report

Budaj will make his third start for the Lightning. He went 27-20-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and seven shutouts in 53 games (51 starts) for the Kings last season after Quick injured his groin in the opener. ... Dowd will replace Amadio after not playing in the past three games.


Stat pack

Kucherov, Stamkos and Namestnikov have combined for 71 points (29 goals, 42 assists), including three goals and six assists against the Sharks. … Quick is 9-2-1 with a 2.06 GAA and .937 save percentage, but has allowed three goals in each of his past three starts (2-1-0).

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