They’re going to want to leave this one behind.
In their final date within Florida State boundaries this season, the Kings fell to a Tampa Bay Lightning club that was quicker, more insistent, and sharper in a 5-1 drubbing Tuesday evening at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The trend of Tuesday night’s contest was set early, with the Lightning’s Ryan Malone deflecting a puck past goaltender Jonathan Quick to put Tampa Bay on the board just 0:19 seconds into the contest. That in itself set the tempo – as the Lightning started the game fast, and finished in a frenzy.
Although the final result and reactions come from the 5-1 score, the Kings held their own in many of tonight’s statistical categories, outshooting the Lightning 31-25 and handling Tampa Bay 27-25 in faceoff wins.
It’s how they were outhustled tonight, though, and no goaltender is going to make up for what is going wrong in front of him, unless perfection is in the mix.
Jonathan Quick was pulled with 3:38 remaining in the second period after allowing his third goal on his 17th shot faced. This would give way to Ben Scrivens, who made his second straight appearance in net after starting on Sunday in Sunrise against the Florida Panthers.
Neither goaltender, especially Quick, was going to be able to sustain and turn away the chances Tampa Bay was provided from the Kings lackluster defensive play. The smart move made by Darryl Sutter was to get Quick out of tonight’s mess, and get Ben Scrivens some playing time.
Slava Voynov put the Kings on the board midway through the third period, cutting off the lifeline that was holding Ben Bishop’s shutout hopes. Voynov, who buried a beautiful snap shot from the top of the circle over Bishop’s right shoulder, read and supported Matt Frattin, who displayed very strong puck control prior to assisting Voynov on tonight’s goal.
Teddy Purcell scored the eventual game-winning goal for Tampa Bay. Purcell, a former King, played 91 games in a Los Angeles uniform from 2007-2010.
The Kings finish their road trip Thursday evening in Nashville, Tennessee before returning home to STAPLES Center Saturday night.