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Preview: Welcome back, now here’s one of the best teams in the league

AND you’re playing without your number one defensemen

NHL: JAN 14 Kings at Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How to Watch

Game Time: 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time

TV: NBCSN

Radio: iHeart Radio

The Opposition: Raw Charge

What to Watch

  • First up, let’s tell you what not to watch, and that’s Drew Doughty, who appears set to miss his first game since April 12, 2014. His injury or illness hasn’t been disclosed, but he hasn’t been able to practice since the bye week/break. His streak of 460 consecutive games will come to an end, leaving Alex Iafallo as the team’s leader, with 132 games played.
  • Derek Forbort is out too. He practiced this morning with the Kings but was one of the last people off the ice (along with Matt Luff). Joakin Ryan skated and looks to be ready to get back in the lineup after dealing with an injury. Jonathan Quick was off first.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have been the league’s best team since Christmas, with 23 points since teams returned from the Christmas break. (They’re followed by Columbus.) They have the best penalty kill in the league, with a 91.1% success rate, although the Kings have been excellent on the man advantage as of late. The Kings’ power play is second in the league since Christmas, scoring on 32% of chances.
  • As we looked at on Monday, the Kings haven’t looked great coming out of the bye week recently. Is this a chance for them to turn around that trend? The Lightning struggled in their first game back against Dallas, with Lightning coach Jon Cooper saying “Our compete was there in the game. Our brains just weren’t.” If the Kings can manage to avoid the early game malaise and come out strong, there’s a chance they could hold their own against the Lightning.
  • The Kings suggest that fans arrive early to be present for a moment to honor Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other people who lost their lives this week in a helicopter crash. Tonight’s game will be the first event at STAPLES Center since their deaths.

Lineups

Los Angeles Kings

Iafallo — Kopitar — Brown
Prokhorkin — Carter — Toffoli
Kempe — Lizotte — Wagner
Clifford — Amadio — Lewis

Ryan — Martinez
Hutton — Walker
MacDermid — Roy

Quick

Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos — Point — Kucherov
Palat — Cirelli — Johnson
Killorn — Paquette — Maroon
Verhaeghe — Stephens — Gourde

Hedman — Rutta
McDonagh — Cernak
Sergachev — Shattenkirk

Vasilevskiy