Teddy Purcell returns to Los Angeles. That's one narrative for tonight as the Bolts make a stop at LA Live and Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight. One of the other pressing stories? Oh, yeah, this is a game of conference leader versus conference leader. Both the Kings (8-3-0) and Bolts (7-2-2) have 16 points in 11 games so far this season. They both stand a single point over the 2nd-place-in-conference teams.
It's too early in the season to really proclaim this a clash-of-the-titans, but it's probably the biggest test the Lightning have faced so far in the early going of 2010-11.
Below the jump, some lineup notes of concern for Bolts fans.
Martin St. Louis, who has played 401 consecutive NHL games, is iffy for tonight's matchup. He took a shot off his foot and bruised a toe during last night's loss to Anaheim. He tells the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsoon that "I always feel good at 7:30" and that he expects to play.
We'll see about that.
Mike Smith gets the nod in net for the Lightning. This will be his first start since he was chased during the 1st period of the Lightning's win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It's a solid opportunity to rebound from a very poor showing at Times Palace last week.
Besides point totals, the Bolts and Kings match up exactly on Penalty kill stats: 89.6% kill rate each (allowing 5 power play goals in 48 shorthanded opportunities). On the power play, it's a different story. The Bolts are converting on 24% of their opportunities (12 for 50), and are ranked 4th in the league. The Kings are ranked 14th, converting on 7 of 42 man-advantage situations.
If Terry Murray's (supposedly) secret goalie rotation holds true, Jonathan Quick will be between teh pipes tonight for the Kings.