Ben Bishop
Lightning-Kings Preview
Ben Bishop

Lightning-Kings Preview

Published Dec. 6, 2015 2:57 a.m. ET

Jon Cooper hasn't been home to celebrate his new contract extension, but the Tampa Bay coach will gladly take the road victories that have helped the Lightning get on track.

The Los Angeles Kings don't plan on letting them end an impressive streak.

Tampa Bay looks to sweep its three-game trip through California by snapping the Kings' five-game home winning streak Sunday night.

Cooper, whose contract was set to expire following the season, inked a multiyear deal Friday after negotiations began in the offseason following a run to the Stanley Cup Final.


Tampa (13-11-3) got off to a rough start to 2015-16 but has won five of seven despite playing without Tyler Johnson, who has missed the last three with an undisclosed injury. Jonathan Marchessault got the deciding goal in Wednesday's 2-1 win over Anaheim before Nikita Kucherov scored twice in Saturday's 4-3 win over San Jose.

Brian Boyle and Eric Condra also scored for the Lightning, who have won all five of their games against the Pacific Division. They had just two goals in each of their previous four.

"You look at the positives. We killed off five penalties," Cooper said. "(Steven) Stamkos is not usually on the PK but he's doing it. A lot of guys are doing things they don't normally do. We are going to have to grind this season out. We have no margin for error."

Marchessault scored in the shootout to help the Lightning beat the Kings 2-1 on Nov. 25 and snap a three-game losing streak in the series. They haven't won in Los Angeles since 2009, and ending that drought might be difficult.

The Kings (16-8-1) are looking to close out a perfect four-game homestand before hitting the road for 10 of their next 11. They got two goals from Milan Lucic and a goal and two assists from defenseman Jake Muzzin in Saturday's 5-3 win over Pittsburgh.

Christian Ehrhoff and Drew Doughty also scored for Los Angeles, which got three goals from defensemen for the first time since 2007.

"I think we don't get much respect in those terms," coach Darryl Sutter said of his defensemen's offensive talents. "Everybody just talks about Drew, and it just goes down from there. It's something that even after last season we felt that we were top-10 in production from our defense, and that's what we expect."

The Kings weren't too thrilled about allowing three goals on just 20 shots after giving up fewer than that in each of their previous four.

"As long as we keep finding ways to win, that's what we've got to do," Muzzin said. "Everyone (on the defense) is playing well. Maybe the personnel isn't as highly touted, but the way we play and our character back there is the same."

Jonathan Quick has been in net for each game on the homestand, but Jhonas Enroth could get the nod to complete the back-to-back set. Enroth is 3-1-0 with a 1.26 goals-against average in four starts this season.

Ben Bishop started Saturday for the Lightning but left with 11:10 remaining after taking a stick to the face. Andrei Vasilevskiy came on and stopped six of eight shots.

Even if Bishop hadn't gotten hurt, Vasilevskiy likely would have been in net for this contest. He has a 2.44 GAA in five starts since coming off injured reserve.


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