Time: 2:00 PM PST
TV: Fox Sports West
Enemy Reading: Raw Charge
Valtteri Filppula–Steven Stamkos–Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat–Tyler Johnson–Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn–Cedric Paquette–Jonathan Drouin
Brenden Morrow–Brian Boyle–Brett Connolly
Victor Hedman– Andrej Sustr
Nikita Nesterov–Anton Stralman
Mark Barberio–Luke Witkowski
Scratched: Carter Ashton, J.T. Brown; Injured: Jason Garrison, Matt Carle, Mattias Ohlund, Radko Gudas
Scratched: Andreoff, McNabb; Injured: Pearson; Suspended: Voynov
- The Lightning have acquired a ridiculous amount of young talent at every position over the past few years, and they look to be an elite team for a long time. They have the best score-adjusted Corsi in the Eastern Conference (54.6%).
- Tampa Bay's second line of Palat-Johnson-Kucherov has been on a bit of a scoring slump lately, but they're by far Tampa's best line in terms of play driving. Extremely dangerous.
- I have no idea why Brett Connolly languishes on Tampa's fourth line. His possession numbers look exceptionally good to me.
- Jason Garrison is injured, so Andrej Sustr will play with Hedman and Luke Witkowski joins the third pairing. If you didn't know who Luke Witkowski was, well, me neither. Google claims he was a 6th round pick of the Lightning in 2008, just now breaking into the NHL at age 24. This will be his 5th NHL game.
- Tampa Bay's power play stats are a bit hard to believe. They're loaded with scoring talent, obviously, but they're 30th in 5v4 Fenwicks/60. That's not new, either: the three years prior they finished 30th, 29th, and 30th. They do closer to league average in terms of goals (presumably because Stamkos drives up their shot quality) but still, you'd think Stamkos's team should have an elite power play, not a mediocre one. I suspect something is schematically wrong with Tampa's approach.
- As for the Kings, a couple glaring third period mistakes overshadowed what was really a very solid effort against Florida. I don't think they're coming into this game playing badly.
- I am comfortable with LA's current top four on defense, but the Regehr-McBain is not an acceptable third pairing. This team really needs to trade for a depth defenseman.
- Obviously, the Kings need to start stringing together some wins very soon if they're going to make the playoffs. The season has not slipped away quite yet, however. They're still in this.
- Jonathan Drouin is tremendously fun to watch, so enjoy that. Should be a great game.