The Los Angeles Kings continue their five-game road with a stop at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. Their first two games was up and down, as they shocked the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday night with a 5-2 win. The Kings were unable to generate any confidence from that game, though, as they reverted back to their expected selves in Raleigh. They were losers by a score of 2-0, as the offence got zero push against James Reimer.
Reimer had to face 41 shots, but the vast majority weren’t Grade A scoring chances. Goaltenders will take a night like that versus quality scoring chances any day of the week. The Kings couldn’t catch any breaks in that contest, compared to a couple of nights prior in Las Vegas when they buried the Golden Knights early with 4 goals in the first period.
The trade deadline is quickly approaching and the Kings would love to be sellers, but they’re carrying around a lot of expensive assets who no one will want. Veteran defenceman Alex Martinez might be an attractive option for some. Martinez was part of both Stanley Cup winning teams and has just a year left on his contract. The Kings don’t want to stop at Martinez, though the market is likely not going to be that attractive.
LA head into Tampa on Tuesday night with a less than desirable record of 18-25-4 and 40 points. With the Ducks losing again last night, they do hold a point advantage over them, though. The Ducks are truly a terrible team without Jakob Silfverberg in the lineup, which makes them even worse than the Kings who still have some okay weapons, albeit old and tired legs. Meanwhile, the Lightning are still searching to get a Stanley Cup out of the Steven Stamkos era in Tampa.
The Bolts were on a ten-game winning streak before that came to an end in New Jersey on Sunday night. Both teams were playing on a back-to-back, and the Lightning did not look interested. They just wanted to get back home instead of stopping in Newark and playing a hockey game. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has been heating up in the crease, did not participate in that contest. He was flawless the night before against the Flyers in a 1-0 shutout, though. Head below for our free Kings vs. Lightning pick.
L.A. Kings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Lightning Prediction:
Thanks to their ten-game winning streak, the Lightning are right back in the hunt for the Atlantic Division. There is a lot of work ahead of them, but they’re giving the Bruins something to think about now. With the Bruins running away with things early on, they haven’t looked as great recently, while the Lightning were able to go on a monster run to get within striking distance.
The Lightning are still 8 points back of the Bruins, though it’s looking way more promising than it was last month. Andrei Vasilevskiy, in particular, has been rounding into form. The Vezina winner has been on fire and has gotten his GAA all the way down to 2.58 and save percentage up to 0.915 after flirting with a 3.00 GAA early in the season. Vasilevskiy is coming off back-to-back shutouts, having stopped 48 shots versus the Coyotes and Flyers.
Note that Vasilevskiy has allowed 2 or fewer goals in five straight games. The last time he’s allowed more than 2 goals was on New Year’s Eve against the Sabres on the road. Look for him to continue to trend in the right direction, as he looks to erase a slow start in 2019-20. He should find success against a Kings team who have found it difficult to put the puck in the back of the net. The Kings are 29th in the league with 2.51 goals scored per game. That number falls sharply to 2.32 goals on the road. Those 5 goals that they scored in Las Vegas were what we would call an outlier in statistics. Expect Vasilevskiy to have another solid evening at the office in this one.
The putrid offence for the Kings helps explain why they are 7-15-3 on the road this season. But there is more to it than just a bad offence. Defensively the Kings have looked lost most of the time on the road as well. They’ve gotten whacked for 3.4 goals against on the road, and must find a way to hold down a Bolts’ offence who’ve erupted for 4.13 goals per game at home this season. I don’t think it’s going to happen here.
Jonathan Quick owns a less than adequate 3.02 GAA and 0.895 save percentage overall, with much of the blame coming on the road. He has posted a 3.60 GAA and 0.876 save percentage as opposed to a 2.51 GAA and 0.912 save percentage at the STAPLES Center. Don’t expect the Kings to be able to keep up on Tuesday. The Lightning should be able to jump right back on track at home after suffering their first loss in eleven games on Sunday. LA is unlikely to keep this contest within two goals.