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Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Opposites meet post trade deadline

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The best team in the NHL faces the...not best team in the NHL.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning: Game 63

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCS

Opponent SBNation Site: Jewels from the Crown

Preview:

The Lightning return to action tonight after three days off to face the Los Angeles Kings at home in Tampa. With today being the trade deadline, players are under extra stress in the hours leading up to the game. Both teams have players who have been rumored to be moved.

The two teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Kings have been sellers all year already making a big trade to send Jake Muzzin to Toronto. The Lightning are buyers who haven’t been directly connected to anything as of this writing but have been rumored to be in on lots of players over the last couple weeks.

The teams are also at opposite ends of the spectrum on the ice. The Kings have lost seven consecutive games including two in overtime. The Lightning have won eight consecutive games. The Kings are second last in the NHL ahead of only the Ottawa Senators who are barely an NHL team. The Lightning are in first place by a comfortable margin.

Yesterday in practice, the Bolts made a change to their forward group swapping Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat. The team held only an optional skate this morning so we’ll have to wait until tonight to see if that change carries over to the game.

Nikita Kucherov crossed the 100 point threshold in the team’s last game against Buffalo making him the fastest to do that since the 95-96 season, which was a completely different era of hockey. His one point in the last two games actually qualifies as a cold streak for him this year. He’s regularly been stringing together multi-point games and the Kings offer him a chance to get another if the team can overcome the emotions of the deadline and play to their best.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Ondrej Palat - Anthony Cirelli - JT Miller

Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Mathieu Joseph

Scratched: Ryan Callahan, Danick Martel

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Dan Giradi

Scratched: Braydon Coburn

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Los Angeles Kings

Forward Lines

Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Ilya Kovalchuk - Jeff Carter - Trevor Lewis

Brandon Leipsic - Adrian Kempe - Tyler Toffoli

Kyle Clifford - Michael Amadio - Austin Wagner

Defense Pairings

Derek Forbort - Drew Doughty

Oscar Fantenberg - Matt Roy

Dion Phaneuf - Sean Walker

Goalies

Jonathan Quick

Jack Campbell