The Los Angeles Kings lost a close game to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1, ending their 2 game winning streak.
The Kings had entered this game with 4 consecutive wins over the Lightning, but it wasn’t in the cards today to stretch that to 5 consecutive wins.
Willie O’Ree dropped the ceremonial puck at this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matchup. O’Ree broke the NHL color carrier on January 18, 1958.
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Daryl Sutter entered the game tied for 12th place all time in head coaching wins. He remains tied with Jacques Lemaire at 617 victories.
Anze Kopitar sat out this game with an illness. Andy Andreoff got in the lineup for the first time in 9 games. Tom Gilbert and Brayden McNabb were scratches.
Ryan Callahan was out for the Lightning with a lower body injury. Victor Hedman and Joel Vermin were also scratched.
The game began with some gritty physicality. Luke Witkowski laid out Kyle Clifford with a hard check, with lead both guys to drop the gloves and go at it. They each got 5 minutes for fighting at 1:19 into the 1st period.
Almost immediately after that fight, Derek Forbort was called for tripping Nikita Kucherov at 1:47 into the period. The Kings killed off the ensuing power play.
Los Angeles didn’t get a shot on goal until almost 9 minutes into the game, when Clifford stripped Ben Bishop of the puck behind the net and wrapped it around for the score. It was Clifford’s first goal in 25 games, and was unassisted at 8:33 into the period.
The Kings went on the power play when Cedric Paquette got whistled for hooking Andreoff at 9:51 into the period. The Kings got 3 shots on goal during the man advantage, but couldn’t score.
The Lightning tied the game up on a one-timer by Tyler Johnson on a terrific pass from Jonathan Drouin at 14:33 into the period. Witkowski got the other assist.
After that 1st period, both Clifford and Witkowski were close to completing a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Clifford needed an assist, and Witkowski needed a goal. Unfortunately, neither one obtained the admirable achievement by the time the game concluded.
Witkowski went to the box again in the 2nd period after cross checking Marian Gaborik into the boards at 4:09 into the period. The Kings got 1 shot on goal during the power play, but the Lightning killed it off.
Towards the end of the 2nd period, the Lightning took the lead when traffic in front of Peter Budaj resulted in Brian Boyle shooting a puck off of Dustin Brown and into the net. Valterri Filppula and Kucherov got the assists at 18:47 into the period.
The Kings had 15 giveaways through the first two periods, and needed to tighten some things up heading into the 3rd period.
Trevor Lewis drew a tripping penalty in front of the Lightning net, and Jason Garrison went to the box at 3:49 into the 3rd.
Nic Dowd took a puck to the mouth during the resulting power play, and was taken to the locker room to get it checked out. The Kings proceeded to get 2 shots on goal during the man advantage, but couldn’t tie the game.
Dowd came back just minutes later, and was whistled for a questionable slashing call on Kucherov at 14:48 into the period. The Kings killed off the penalty, but valuable time ticked away.
The Kings pulled Budaj for an extra attacker with just over a minute left, and the referees seemingly missed a tripping penalty as Jeff Carter was sent to the ice. Regardless, the Lightning closed out this game and held onto the 2-1 victory.
The Kings outshot the Lightning 32-29. Los Angeles went 0 of 3 on the power play, while the Lightning went 0 for 2 on the power play.