Lightning Crown Kings, 3-1
Lecavalier Nets Goal And Assist
For the Lightning, every day they face the L.A. Kings is a good day, as they defeated Los Angeles, 3-1, Monday night at the Staples Center. The win extended Tampa Bay’s record against the Kings to 6-0-2 over the last eight games the teams have played in L.A.
What appeared to be a lackluster opening period for both clubs took a sudden change of direction as Tampa Bay pumped in two goals within 41 seconds with less than two minutes remaining in the stanza.
Evengy Artyukhin opened the scoring at 18:16 when he scored his fourth goal of the season off a 3 on 1 Lightning rush. Artyukhin’s shot from the left face-off circle found the far corner of the Los Angeles net, to the right of King’s netminder Erik Ersberg.
The score, assisted by Steven Stamkos
and Vladimir Mihalik
, marked the ninth time in the last 10 games that the Lightning have scored first.
From the time the puck dropped after Artyukhin’s goal, Tampa Bay controlled the play and pressed the Kings back into their defensive zone. When Mark Recchi fielded a pass from Vincent Lecavalier
in the high slot, he pivoted and launched a backhand shot which eluded Ersberg for his 10th goal of the season. Lecavalier’s assist on the play was his 350th of his career and Vaclav Prospal also assisted, stretching his consecutive game point streak to seven.
After registering only one shot on net through the first 13 minutes of the game, Tampa Bay collected four shots in the remaining seven minutes, 2 of which found their way into the King goal. The shot total at the end of the period was Tampa Bay, 5, Kings, 4.
For a while it appeared that the most shots for the period would be registered by Lightning forward David Koci, who battled with Raitis Ivanans at 17:43. Both players received matching five minor majors for fighting and 10 minute misconduct penalties.
Tampa Bay picked up in the second period where they left off in the first when Vincent Lecavalier
stretched the lead to 3-0 at 5:48, beating Ersberg on the short side with a quick shot off a pass from Martin St. Louis
. Lukas Krajicek also got credit for an assist on Lecavalier’s 17th goal of the season, and that was enough to chase Ersberg to the bench as Jonathan Quick took over in the L.A. net.
“It was a great play by Marty St. Louis,” Lecavalier said. “He knows where to find me on the ice and I got a little lucky and the puck went in.”
With six minutes remaining in the period, the Kings generated their best sustained attack of the game so far, and Lightning netminder Mike Smith
was forced to make several outstanding stops. L.A. continued to press the issue, finally breaking through as Peter Harrold got a slap shot from the slot past Smith.
At the end of 40 minutes of play, eight different Lightning players had recorded points on the evening and Tampa Bay headed to the locker room with a two-goal, 3-1 lead, and one period to go.
If the Kings were hoping for a Tampa Bay letdown, they quickly learned they were mistaken as the Lightning opened the third period with an aggressive forecheck that made it difficult for L.A. to escape their own defensive zone.
There was lots of skating, but not many shots until late in the final period when Lightning defenseman Marek Malik drew an interference call at 17:13. Soon after, the Kings pulled Quick in favor of an extra attacker and came up with a flurry of good scoring chances, all of which Smith was equal to.
In the end, the Lightning were assured of a successful road trip with one game, Tuesday night in San Jose, yet to play. After defeating the Kings, 3-1, Tampa Bay bettered their record on this western swing to 3-1-0.
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