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Lightning at Kings preview: The Bolts have a chance to put a little daylight in the standings

Jan 9, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) skates with the puck as Los Angeles Kings right wing Arthur Kaliyev (34) defends during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Game #70 – Tampa Bay Lightning at Los Angeles Kings
Time: 10:30 PM
Location: Crypto.com Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, BSW, ESPN+, Hulu

Opponent’s Site: Jewels From the Crown


Is there a team that has had a weirder season than the Kings this season? They storm out of the gates with a 20-7-4 record and then go 3-8-6 and fire their coach. After that they put their season back together with a 12-7-1 to climb back into the playoff race. Their leading goal scorer (Trevor Moore) only has 25 and no one is averaging more than a point a game.

In their prior match-up, the Lightning squeaked out a 3-2 overtime win with Nick Perbix providing the difference-maker.

The loss was the sixth in a row for the Kings while it kicked off a five-game streak for the Bolts. Now, a couple of months later, the two teams are in similar spots. Los Angeles has 83 points and currently sit in the third spot of the Pacific Division, but Vegas is just two points behind them. If the Golden Knights catch them, the Kings drop to the second wild card spot. Tampa Bay is slowly locking themselves into a wild card spot, so both teams will likely be on the road for most of their playoff rounds.

They have taken different routes to get to where they are. Defense has been the key to Los Angeles’ success as they have allowed just 175 on the season and have a plus-39 goal differential. They’re also killing a league-leading 86.3% of penalties. The Kings don’t allow a lot of dangerous chances as their 11.44/60 is the third-lowest number in the league.

Meanwhile the Lightning just keep scoring goals with Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov leading the way. We talked about it a bit in the preview to the Sharks’ game, but the Bolts’ offense has been exquisite this month. During the winning streak Point has 8 goals while Kucherov has 16 points. Steven Stamkos also has quietly had a strong five games with 3 goals and 7 assists while winning 59.5% of his face-offs. Eleven different players have scored a goal during this streak.

By Coach Cooper’s definition, the Lightning have already had a successful road trip as they have accumulated six points on a five-game trip. They now have the chance to make it a season-defining trip if they can pull off back-to-back wins in L.A. and Anaheim.

Stats Match-up

Game #70Tampa Bay LightningLos Angeles Kings
Overall Record38-25-636-22-11
Home Record21-9-416-11-7
Road Record17-16-220-11-4
Goals For241214
Goals Against229175
Power Play28.9%22.6%
Penalty Kill81.7%86.3%
Last 10 Games7-2-16-3-1
Stats via NHL and Natural Stat Trick


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Anthony Duclair- Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel – Anthony Cirelli – Steven Stamkos
Mikey Eyssimont – Nick Paul – Conor Sheary

Tanner Jeannot – Luke Glendening – Tyler Motte

Victor Hedman – Darren Raddysh
Calvin de Haan – Erik Cernak
Emil Lilleberg – Matt Dumba

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Jonas Johansson

Los Angeles Kings Projected Lines

Quinton Byfield – Anze Kopitar – Adrian Kempe

Trevor Moore – Phillip Danault – Kevin Fiala

Alex LaFerriere – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Viktor Arvidsson

Trevor Lewis – Blake Lizotte – Jacob Moverare


Mikey Anderson – Drew Doughty

Vladislav Gavrikov – Matt Roy

Andreas Englund – Jordan Spence


Cam Talbot

David Rittich

The Playoff Race

Atlantic DivisionGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Boston Bruins7141-15-159711
Florida Panthers6945-20-49413
Toronto Maple Leafs6839-20-98714
Wild CardGames PlayedRecordPointsGames Remaining
Detroit Red Wings7036-28-67812
Washington Capitals6934-26-97713
Top 3 teams in the Atlantic make the playoffs, top two wild card teams also make the playoffs
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