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4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ET21:30 BRT, February 25, 2019
Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida  Attendance: 19,092

NHL-best Tampa Bay aims to add to Kings' woes

Los Angeles Kings at Tampa Bay Lightning

  1. The Kings have lost seven straight, allowing 4.14 goals per game and killing 61.9 percent of penalties in that time. In their previous seven games, the Kings went 5-2-0, allowing only 3.00 goals per game and killing 85.7 percent of penalties.
  2. The Lightning have not lost in regulation this month. They lead the NHL in points-won percentage (.917), goals against per game (1.50) and penalty-kill percentage (92.1 percent) in February.
  3. Tampa Bay won the first game against Los Angeles this season, 6-2, on January 3. The Lightning have won five straight against the Kings, all in regulation, outscoring them 22-8 in those games.
  4. Jonathan Quick allowed six goals against Florida, his third game allowing at least five goals in his last five starts, all losses. His seven games allowing at least five goals this season are tied for fourth most in the NHL and the most he has allowed in a season in his career.
  5. With a goal against Buffalo, Nikita Kucherov reached 100 points in 62 games this season, the fastest skater to hit the century mark since Mario Lemieux reached it in 61 games in 1996-97. He is now the only skater in franchise history to have multiple seasons with at least 100 points (100 last season).
  6. The Lightning have only 15 losses this season and their 47-11-4 record is on pace to be the best record by a team in a non-strike season since the Red Wings in 1995-96 (62-13-7-0). The Kings reached 15 losses on November 24 this season.

Monday's trade deadline creates uneasiness and excitement around the league, and count several Los Angeles Kings among those not knowing where they might be playing the rest of the season.

Los Angeles plays at the league's top team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on Monday night. By the time the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET, the trade deadline will have passed.

After Los Angeles was drubbed 6-1 by Florida for its seventh straight defeat on Saturday, team captain Anze Kopitar took full responsibility for his mistakes and added that players cannot use the worrisome trade deadline as a performance excuse.

"I'm sure it's on everybody's mind, but at the end of the day, showing up for the game, there's nothing more important than that. It doesn't matter if it's the deadline or whatever the case may be," Kopitar said.

The Kings, who rank ahead of only the Ottawa Senators in the overall league standings, have already traded away three significant players since Jan. 28.

The organization sent standout defenseman Jake Muzzin to the Toronto Maple Leafs, gritty forward Nate Thompson to the Montreal Canadiens and speedy forward Carl Hagelin to the Washington Capitals.

All the moves create an uncertainty, interim coach Willie Desjardins said.

"I think there's lots of thoughts when you're thinking about it all the time. It takes energy (out of) you," Desjardins said.

On Saturday, in a 1-1 tie in the second period and with Los Angeles late in the power play, Kopitar sent a slap shot wide from the right boards. The puck smacked off the end boards, wrapped around the rink and went right to Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau as he stepped out of the penalty box.

The left wing raced in and beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for the lead, and a 5-on-3 power play produced two more markers for the Panthers for a 4-1 lead and full control of the game.

The Lightning (47-11-4) probably are not worried about the deadline too much. As the NHL's top team for the majority of the season, Tampa Bay has had little to mull over, leaving coach Jon Cooper happy with his club.

The team's longest losing streak is just two games, which occurred twice. Tampa Bay even gained points in one of those brief streaks, earning points twice at home in a shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and in an overtime defeat to the St. Louis Blues.

The Lightning have not played since last Thursday's 2-1 shootout win at home over the Buffalo Sabres. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov scored, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped Buffalo's Jack Eichel and Vladimir Sobotka as Tampa Bay won the shootout session 2-0.

Cooper's group has won eight consecutive games and will try to sweep the season series from the Kings. Tampa Bay beat the Kings 6-2 in Los Angeles on Jan. 3 as six different players scored, including Stamkos and Kucherov.

Kucherov's regulation goal against Buffalo gave him 100 points in 62 games.

"In the locker room after the game, you could tell how excited he was," Cooper said. "The biggest thing for me is how excited the guys were for him."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 24, 2019

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