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Kings-Lightning Recap: Tampa Bay Skates Circles Around LA in 5-1 Win

Rough night for the Los Angeles Kings in Tampa Bay. Operation: Florida Sweep failed miserably, as the Tampa Bay Lightning crushed the Kings 5-1.

[Box Score]

It was pretty clear that it wasn’t going to be the Kings’ night 19 seconds into this game. On the first shift of the evening, Tampa Bay missed an initial chance to score but got the puck up to Sami Salo at the point. Salo’s low shot deflected off the skate of Ryan Malone and past Jonathan Quick, and Tampa Bay was in business. The second goal came courtesy of ex-King Teddy Purcell, because of course it did. Purcell came down the left wing with speed against Slava Voynov, who has struggled but got a ton of ice time today. Voynov attempted to knock the puck away from Purcell, but Purcell was able to hold him off and beat Quick up high from an angle.

The consensus opinion after the first period was that LA was lucky to only be down 2-0, but that’s a matter of opinion, as the Kings had a couple power plays and matched the Lightning in scoring chances. Then again, when you get away with allowing breakaways to both Steven Stamkos AND Martin St. Louis in the same period, I guess you can’t ask for much more. (And yes, we did allow breakaways to both Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Just to clarify.)

If you want to make yourself feel slightly better, you’re more than welcome to dwell on a pretty terrible decision by the referees which prevented a Kings goal early in the second. Would the game have turned out differently if Jeff Carter’s second period tally had stood? Probably not. At any rate, Sami Salo pushed Mike Richards towards Ben Bishop, Richards tried to hold up but made minimal contact as Carter’s shot beat Bishop, and the referees disallowed the goal for incidental contact. The score remained 2-0, and would remain 2-0 despite the hockey gods gifting LA with a four-minute power play… on a high stick by Sami Salo. Convenient. The second period was a decent one for the Kings, but they couldn’t solve Bishop.

Martin St. Louis did score in the second to make it a three-goal game, and the Kings were pretty much dead in the water from that point on. Darryl Sutter sent a message of some sort by pulling Jonathan Quick for Ben Scrivens, but the Kings (who had 25 shots at the second intermission) performed worse after the change. They did get a goal via Slava Voynov, who took a cross-ice feed from Matt Frattin and went top shelf on Bishop. But overall, the defense didn’t give their goalie any help, and that was especially evident on the fourth goal. Stamkos carried the puck in against Robyn Regehr and Drew Doughty with Martin St. Louis on the other side and Ryan Malone trailing the play. As Stamkos delivered a drop pass to Malone, Regehr was sliding towards Stamkos to take away the shot, and Doughty was on his feet… also following Stamkos. At that point, it was a 2-on-0, and Malone waited for Ben Scrivens to flinch before feeding St. Louis for a tap-in.

Ondrej Palat made it 5-1 soon after, and the Kings trudged off the ice with their worst loss of the young season. A win at Nashville would mean a six out of eight points on this little jaunt through the Southeastern US, and it would certainly remove the bad taste of this game.

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