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Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings Preview and Game Day Thread

It’s Late Night Lightning Week!

Los Angeles Kings v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings: GAME #41

Time: 10:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Crypto.com Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, BSW

Opponent SBNation Site: Jewels from the Crown

Get that coffee and Red Bull ready, it’s West Coast Week for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts begin their three-game California sojourn tonight in L.A. where they will take on a Kings team that was Timo Meier’d last night as the San Jose Shark scored five times against them in a 6-2 Sharks win.

Jonathan Quick was in net last night for the Kings and surrendered all six goals on just seventeen shots by the Sharks (efficient offense) so it’s likely the Lightning will face Cal Petersen in net. The L.A. back-up has been pretty decent this season, with a .924 SV% and 1.96 GAA at 5v5 in 14 appearances according to Natural Stat Trick.

With a relatively light schedule for the rest of this month and into February, chances are the Lightning are going to roll with Andrei Vasilevskiy for most of the starts in the near future. They don’t play again until Friday when they start a back-to-back with Anaheim and San Jose. After that they are off until next Thursday. So even if he starts tonight and Friday, he’ll have almost a week off (assuming Brian Elliott starts against San Jose on Saturday) which is plenty of rest heading into next month.

While goaltending isn’t an issue for the Bolts, the defense is. The good news is that Ryan McDonagh returned to action in their last game and seems no worse for wear. The bad news is that the right side of the blueline is a bit of a mess right now. Zach Bogosian is out for a couple of weeks, Erik Cernak is banged up and questionable, and Jan Rutta was not at the most recent practice. That leaves Cal Foote, Andrej Sustr, and someone else if Rutta can’t go this week.

As of the time this was posted, no moves from Syracuse had been reported and the two most likely call-ups (Sean Day and Darren Raddysh) both played in the Crunch’s game on Monday. In a pinch, Daniel Walcott, who is on the taxi squad, could fill in on defense, but he hasn’t played that position regularly in quite a few seasons now. Hopefully, Rutta was just out on a maintenance day and should be good to go for the game.

Even if Rutta or Cernak are in the line-up, this will be a good opportunity for Cal Foote. The second-year players has shown well in his recent starts and may be starting to get his NHL legs under him. Now it’s time to see how he handles a little more ice time. Vegas seems to think the defense issues won’t be too much of an issue as they look at this to be a relatively low-scoring affair (over/under total goals 5.5).

Ondrej Palat is also a game-time decision. If he’s not in the line-up tonight, he’ll probably be in for the Anaheim game on Friday. Maybe, just maybe, at some point in the next week or so we’ll actually see the roster that the team had hoped to start the season with.

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Forwards

Mathieu Joseph - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos

Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Bo Katchouk - Ross Colton - Taylor Raddysh

Defense

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta (?)

Ryan McDonagh - Andrej Sustr

Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Los Angeles Kings Projected Lines

Forward

Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Sam Fagemo

Trevor Moore - Phillip Danault - Viktor Arvidsson

Alex Turcotte - Rasmus Kupari - Dustin Brown

Brandon Lemiuex- Blake Lizotte - Arthur Kaliyev

Defense

Mikey Anderson - Drew Doughty

Olli Maatta - Matt Roy

Tobias Bjornfot - Sean Durzi

Goaltenders

Cal Petersen

Jonathan Quick

Based on yesterday’s pre-game line rushes.