Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 7 @ Tampa Bay
October 15, 2013
4pm PST (7pm EST)
Despite missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, there is no denying that the Tampa Bay Lightning are a team on the rise. With veterans like Martin St. Louis, to a talented defensive core with the likes of Victor Hedman and Mattias Ohlund to, quintessentially, the face of the franchise in Steven Stamkos, the Los Angeles Kings certainly have their work cut out for them.
At 3-2-0, the Lightning are off to a good start but will have to endure a Kings team on Tuesday night who, at 4-2-0, are looking to be victorious in their third-straight game.
Despite blanking the Florida Panthers on Sunday for his first-career shutout, it is unlikely that the Kings will rely on Ben Scrivens again to play goal. Instead, Los Angeles is most likely to put Jonathan Quick back in action.
As promising as the Lightning look overall, their penalty kill thus far has been anything but. The Bolts rank a disappointing 26th overall in said category. If Tampa hopes to turn their fortunes around when a man down, it will be a difficult task on Tuesday as they meet a Kings team who, so far, is ranked 8th overall on the power play.
If Los Angeles hopes to slow the Bolts down and pick up their third-consecutive win, they don’t have to look far in terms of who to contain. Steven Stamkos leads his team with seven points while Martin St. Louis is currently riding a four-game point streak during which time he notched two goals and added five assists.
Goaltender Ben Bishop, who has been sidelined since last Thursday with a lower-body injury, hopes to return to the Tampa net on Tuesday after practicing with the club over the weekend.
At 6’6, the 26-year-old Bishop is physically daunting enough to strike fear in many opponents. The Kings, however, likely won’t feel such a wrath. With Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar racking up the points in addition to role players such as Daniel Carcillo and Jordan Nolan who both scored their first goals of the season last game, the silver-and-black have enough of an offensive spark to keep Bishop and the Bolts on their toes.
Tuesday will mark the first meeting between the Kings and Lightning since February 7, 2012 when Los Angeles, backed by a 24-save performance by Jonathan Quick, won 3-1 at the St. Pete’s Times Forum.
Tuesday will also mark the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season. After their meeting in Tampa, the Bolts will play a visit to Staples Center on November 19 where they will entire a hostile crowd to take on the Kings.
It’s the top two picks in the 2008 Draft squaring off (Stamkos and Drew Doughty) but there should be a few more storylines when the night is all said and done.
Enjoy the game!