Game 54 (26-18-10)
TAMPA – They came into tonight’s game facing a Lightning squad who had won six of their last seven games but it made no difference to the Kings as they pulled out a 3-1 victory, earning their first win on their current road trip.
Although Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos was able to celebrate his 22nd birthday with his 35th goal of the season, it was the only offense the Bolts could produce as the Kings prevail on a night where so much had gone right for them.
A Justin Williams point shot opened the scoring as Anze Kopitar tipped it in to pick up his second goal in as many games. The only negative on this night was on Stamkos’ goal when Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi broke his stick and as a result of bad timing, former King Teddy Purcell broke out with Stamkos on the 2-on-1 that finished with a goal. If Scuderi still had his stick, he could have broken up the play and kept the score 1-0. Nonetheless, Tampa scored and with the goal, Stamkos recorded his first-career goal against the Kings, who, before tonight, was the only team he had never scored against.
When the Lightning tied the game, many may have worried that this was a case of déjà vu from Saturday night where the Kings opened the scoring and let the lead and ultimately the game slip away. Shortly after the Lightning tied it, Kyle Clifford was called for a penalty. But after hitting the post, Tampa gave it up and sent Clifford, just out of the penalty box, on a breakaway ala Pavel Bure and he went five-hole on Dwayne Roloson to regain Los Angeles’ lead.
Before the period was through, Dustin Penner added to the lead with a quick shot that fooled Roloson. Although it was just his fifth on the year, the goal was Penner’s third in his last eight games.
After having a rare night off on Saturday, Jonathan Quick was back in the net and playing up to his usual standard as he stopped 23 of 24 shots to help his team to victory.
Overall, it was a good night for the Kings – a very resilient effort. They hope to continue the momentum and form another winning streak on Thursday night when they go to Sunrise to pay a visit to the Florida Panthers.
Photo: Courtesy of Harry How/Getty Images