The Los Angeles Kings seem to finally be hitting their stride as they arrive in Tampa Bay to face the Lightning. After dropping their home opener to the New York Rangers, the Kings have pulled off three consecutive wins to push their record to 4-2.
They won an overtime thriller versus the Ottawa Senators and have won the first two games of a four game road trip, first against the Carolina Hurricanes and then the Florida Panthers. LA has cut down on giveaways and played better defensively and as a result have outshot their last three opponents. It doesn’t hurt that they have only given up a combined one goal in their last two games.
The Kings last two wins did come against teams that failed to reach the playoffs last season, but they did what they were supposed to do; win. They pulled out a tough, grind-it-out shootout win against an improving Hurricanes team and then totally throttled an overmatched Panthers team.
The defense has stepped up to say the least: top defenseman Drew Doughty has played to his capability as well as fellow first-liner Slava Voynov and veteran Willie Mitchell.
Neither of their road victories would have been possible without great goaltending by Jonathan Quick and backup Ben Scrivens. Scrivens made his presence known in his first start of the season versus Florida by putting up a shutout. The Kings have had crisp passing in both of their first two road games and seem to be gelling together.
The LA Kings improved play may be due in part to Daryl Sutter switching up the lines after their loss to the Rangers. Daniel Carcillo was inserted into the 2nd line with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards as well as Alec Martinez being activated. Carcillo has brought some toughness and grittiness to the Kings and was able to score his first goal of the season versus Florida.
Another player making headlines for the Kings is veteran winger Justin Williams, who has scored two goals in his last three games and also recorded his 500th point.
Meanwhile, Matt Frattin needs to improve. He has yet to score this season and his time on the ice is getting cut from game to game. Hopefully, if the Kings keep winning Frattin can contribute some goals on the way.
The Los Angeles Kings will look to push their streak to four as they face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 PM Eastern Time on Fox Sports West. If the Kings continue to keep the giveaways to fewer than five a game and have everyone contribute then a win is almost certain.
LA should be wary of Lightning top scorer Steve Stamkos and veteran star Martin St. Louis. A player to keep an eye on for the Kings is Dustin Brown as he only has two goals on the season thus far, but at any point could explode for multiple goals as he did against the Ottawa Senators. The Kings also need to keep winning in order to keep pace with undefeated St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks.
Read more rumors, news and opinion on our Los Angeles Kings page