Tampa Bay Lightning (11-2-1-1; 7-8 ATS;9-6 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Kings (11-2-2; 10-5 ATS; 8-6-1 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 10:30pm EST
Line: LA Kings -140/Tampa Bay +120
The Los Angeles Kings will square off with the Tampa Bay Lightning in a heavyweight battle Thursday night from the Staples Center. The Lightning edged the Blue Jackets by a 5-4 score in a shootout in their latest action and take on the Sharks Wednesday night, and the Kings edged the Ducks 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night. The Lightning won both meetings against the Kings last season.
Stamkos and Kucherov Lead the Way for Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning had an outstanding opening month of the season and head into this contest in first place in the Eastern Conference. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are proving to be the most dynamic duo in the NHL, ranking first and second in the NHL in points. Stamkos found the back of the net for his third goal in his last three games in the Lightning 5-4 win over Columbus last weekend. The 27-year old center has been unstoppable, recording at least one point in all but two games this season, and leads the NHL with 25 points on the season heading into Wednesday’s action. Stamkos has notched five points in nine career games against the Kings. His linemate Nikita Kucherov has also taken the NHL by storm, leading the NHL with 14 goals to go with nine assists on the season. Tampa Bay is filling the net, averaging an NHL-leading 3.9 goals per game.
The Lightning will likely turn to backup goaltender Peter Budaj in the second game of a back-to-back set. Budaj has seen limited action behind Vasilevskiy, allowing eight goals in his two games of action. Tampa Bay has not been quite as sharp defensively as of late, and are now allowing an average of 2.7 goals per game, placing them seventh in the NHL.
Kings Erase-Three Goal Deficit in Win Over Sharks
The Los Angeles Kings rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Ducks by a 4-3 score in overtime on Tuesday night. Anze Kopitar found the back of the net and added an assist in the victory, extending his point streak to six games in the process. The 30-year old center is having a terrific season, collecting seven points over his last six games, and leads the Kings in points with eight goals and 11 assists. Kopitar has registered nine points in 12 career games against the Lightning. Dustin Brown continued his strong play in the win, notching one goal and one assist. The Kings’ captain has now registered four points in his last four games, and has tallied 15 points in 15 games played on the season. The Kings have not lost consecutive games all season and own a 5-1-1 record in their last seven games. They are scoring an average of 3.4 goals per game, ranking them eighth in the NHL.
The Kings will send Jonathan Quick between the pipes in this one. Quick continues to shine, posting a dazzling 2.06 GAA and a .937 save percentage to go with a 9-2-1 record on the season. L.A. has allowed the fewer goals against in the NHL, conceding an NHL low 2.3 goals per game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are:
- 1-4 in their last 5 games in L.A.
The Los Angeles Kings are:
- 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
- 12-2 in their last 14 games against the Eastern Conference.
- 4-0 in their last 4 games against the Atlantic division.
- 9-3 in their last 12 games overall.
I am taking the Kings in this contest. The Kings are 5-0-2 on home ice this season and are always tough to beat at home, especially when the visitor played the night before. L.A. is looking like a well-oiled machine in both ends, and they are very tight defensively. Quick has been outstanding, and it will not be easy for the Lightning to have their usual success offensively. Furthermore, Tampa Bay has allowed a total of 15 goals in their last four games, and the King have been very consistent offensively.