Los Angeles Kings Travel to Florida to Face Tampa Bay Lightning

Feb 5, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) skates with the puck as Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov (9) defends in the first period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings are staying on the East Coast, but traveling south to play the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4:30 PM Pacific Time.

The Kings had their 5 game winning streak snapped on Sunday against the Washington Capitals 5-0. There’s no shame in losing to the best team in hockey, but any loss in that dominating of a fashion is still somewhat troubling.

As of now, the Kings hold the top wildcard spot in the Western Conference. They’re 27-22-4 with 58 points.

While the Kings are currently in good shape for a playoff berth, the Lightning risk having their season slip away if they don’t start winning some games as soon as possible.

The Lightning are 23-34-6 with 52 points, which is tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.

It’s important to note that the East has more competitive squads than the West does. The Lightning would be tied with the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars in the West, just 3 slots of of the second wildcard spot.

That’s some added context, but it doesn’t change the fact that this has been a disappointing season for a franchise that just 2 years ago made the Stanley Cup Finals and just 1 year ago made the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Steven Stamkos injury has been truly debilitating. It’s nearly impossible to replace the output of such a prolific goal scorer.

It has not been a fun ride for the Lightning in the new year. Since the calendar turned to 2017, the team has lost 11 of its past 15 games.

Nikita Kucherov leads the team with 19 goals and 47 points in 46 games. Defenseman Victor Hedman ranks second on the team with 41 points in 50 games.

Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevsky have split time in net for the Lightning this season. Neither one has lower than a 2.75 GAA or higher than a .910 save percentage.

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