Surging Bolts host low-scoring Kings
The Kings have struggled to score goals over the first two long road trip, failing to earn a point despite excellent goaltending.
In fact, Lightning forward Martin St. Louis had more goals in his last memorable trip to the ice than the Kings have mustered so far over their past six periods.
Los Angeles looks to get something going this evening in Tampa and avoid its first three-game slide in two months.
The Kings have scored just one time so far on their six-game road trip. They dropped a 1-0 decision in St. Louis on Friday despite 32 saves by Jonathan Quick and then wasted 20 stops by backup Jonathan Bernier in his first start since Jan. 9 the following night in a 2-1 defeat at Carolina.
Los Angeles got a first-period goal from Anze Kopitar, but fell to 9-1-1 this season when leading after the first period. The back-to-back losses leave the Kings four points behind the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and seventh overall in the West.
"We've played six periods on the road and gave up three goals and didn't get nothing out of it. That's a tough one to swallow," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter, whose club sits last in the NHL with 2.09 goals per game.
Los Angeles will try to avoid losing three straight for the first time since a five-game slide from Dec. 3-13 and faces a Tampa Bay team that had no problem scoring goals on Saturday versus Florida.
The Lightning rolled to a 6-3 win over their Southeast Division rival, wrapping the season set against the Panthers with a 4-1-1 mark. St. Louis paced the offense with his fifth career hat trick in what was his 900th career game.
"It's nice to get on the scoreboard and help your team win," said St. Louis, who has six goals and 10 assists over a nine-game point streak.
"Obviously with the win, three goals, my kids being there, I think I have a lot of reasons why I'll remember this game."
Tampa Bay has earned seven of a possible eight points so far on its five-game homestand and is 6-0-1 in its past seven games. That has the club eight points back of Florida for first place in the Southeast Division and it will look to move above .500 for the first time since it was 11-10-2 on Nov. 28.
Vincent Lecavalier added a goal and three assists on Saturday, while Steven Stamkos potted his NHL-leading 34th goal of the year. Mathieu Garon ended with 17 saves to move to 5-0-1 in his last six starts.
Dwayne Roloson is expected to get the start tonight, his first since Jan. 21, and head coach Guy Boucher will also have the option of putting both Adam Hall and Marc-Andre Bergeron into his lineup.
Hall was expected to miss eight weeks with a torn muscle in his forearm following a fight on Jan. 5, but was cleared to play on Monday. So was Bergeron, who has sat out the last nine with an upper-body injury and the two are considered questionable.
Los Angeles has won its past two meetings with Tampa Bay, including a 1-0 home victory in the lone encounter last year. Quick stopped all 24 shots faced in that one.