Preview: Tampa Bay at Los Angeles
When: 10:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Kings started the season with three straight losses at home and almost two months later they are establishing themselves as the team to beat in the Pacific Division. The Kings have won 10 of the last 12 at home and look to extend their point streak to six games when the Tampa Bay Lightning pay a visit Sunday night.
Los Angeles leads the Pacific by five points after a 5-3 victory over Pittsburgh at home Saturday as three defensemen notched goals. The Kings will need another big effort to avoid a two-game sweep by the Lightning, who topped them 2-1 in a shootout Nov. 25. Tampa Bay goes for a three-game sweep of its West Coast trip after edging San Jose 4-3 on Saturday despite an injury to goalie Ben Bishop, who left in the third period when he took a stick through his mask and suffered a cut near his eye. Andrei Vasilevskiy came on in relief and is expected to start against the Kings while Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters Bishop should be fine.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (13-11-3): Right wing Nikita Kucherov snapped a four-game drought with a pair of goals Saturday while playing his second game with new linemates Jonathan Drouin and Vladislav Namestnikov. Captain Steven Stamkos has not scored a goal in five games, but notched an assist against San Jose to push his team-leading total to 20 points. Centers Tyler Johnson (lower body) and Cedric Paquette (upper body) are likely out again Sunday, but could return when the Lightning host Ottawa on Thursday.
ABOUT THE KINGS (16-8-1): Jonathan Quick has been in net throughout the point streak, allowing eight goals combined, but might give way to backup Jhonas Enroth (3-1-0, .962 save percentage). Jeff Carter leads the team with 24 points and has produced at least one in five consecutive contests while Tyler Toffoli has 20, but has gone without one for three straight games. Defenseman Drew Doughty has notched a goal in back-to-back games and power forward Milan Lucic boasts seven in his last 12 outings.
1. Kings D Jake Muzzin had a goal and two assists against Pittsburgh – his third multi-point contest this season.
2. Tampa Bay has won all five games against Pacific Division teams this season.
3. Los Angeles F Trevor Lewis (upper body) missed Saturday’s game and is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Lightning 3, Kings 2