LIGHTNING (12-2-2) at KINGS (11-2-2)
10:30 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-W, SN, NHL.TV
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
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
Scratched: Michael Amadio, Christian Folin
Injured: Jeff Carter (ankle), Kyle Clifford (upper body), Marian Gaborik (knee)
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.
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).