The first place Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Los Angeles to face the Kings at the Staples Center in the second game of a three-game road trip at 10:30 p.m. ET. This will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
Tampa Bay has been playing at a historic pace this season. Currently, they have a league-leading 64 points and are on pace to eclipse the NHL record of 132 points, which was set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, who proceeded to win the Stanley Cup during that historic run.
The Lightning has only lost seven times in regulation this season and are 31-7-2 overall, including an astounding record of 14-1 in their last 15 games. Currently, they are on a six-game win streak.
A big reason for their success is the fact that they have multiple players that have already eclipsed the 10-goal mark this season, including four players with at least 18. Brayden Point leads the Lightning with 23 goals and superstar Steven Stamkos has 22.
Tampa Bay’s goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy has been phenomenal this season, posting a 15-3-2 record with a 2.58 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
Conversely, Los Angeles has struggled mightily this season. The Kings are 16-22-3, with only 35 points this season as they are early contenders for the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. However, they are a modest 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
Their struggles are underscored by the fact that they have only one player, Dustin Brown, with at least 10 goals. Anze Kopitar and Alex Iafallo follow with only nine goals each.
Another reason for Los Angeles’ struggles is their subpar goaltending. Longtime starting goalie, Jonathan Quick, is having a down year with a 6-9-2 record, 2.87 GAA, and .904 save percentage.
The backup goaltender, Jack Campbell, has posted a record of only 5-8-0, but his goals against average of 2.23 GAA and .930 save percentage are impressive.
Tonight’s matchup, which will be featured on ESPN+, will be intriguing as the Lightning will try to win their seventh consecutive contest as they continue their potentially record-breaking season while the Kings try to reverse their fortunes.
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Lightning vs. Kings 1/3/19 ESPN+ viewing information
Date: Thursday, Jan. 3
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports Sun (Tampa Bay broadcast), Fox Sports West (Los Angeles broadcast)
Live Stream: ESPN+ free trial