- Associated Press - Monday, December 7, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Kings are hitting the road for the holidays, playing 10 of their next 11 games away from Staples Center. If they can bring their home brilliance with them, it won’t be much of a problem.

Andy Andreoff, Brayden McNabb and Milan Lucic scored to lead the Kings past the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 Sunday night for their sixth consecutive victory on home ice.

Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots to help the Kings win for the 11th time in their last 13 home games, extending their lead in the Pacific Division to seven points.

“We’re finding ways to win,” Quick said. “I know coming back and looking at this homestand, it was four really good hockey teams. All four were playoff teams and we weren’t, so you’ve got something to prove against those types of teams.”

Brian Boyle scored for Tampa Bay, which got eight saves from Andrei Vasilevskiy and 17 from Ben Bishop off the bench. Vasilevskiy started in place of Bishop, who left Saturday’s game at San Jose after accidentally being poked in the eye by an errant stick.

After blitzing the Penguins for five goals Saturday, the Kings did not let up against a Lightning defense that came into the game tied with the New York Rangers for fewest even-strength goals allowed. But Kings coach Darryl Sutter said the emphatic wins over Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were not the best performances of this recent stretch.

“Actually, we were better in the first game of the four-game homestand than we were in the third and fourth,” Sutter said. “Our goaltender was awesome and our penalty killing was outstanding.”

After Boyle tied the game 27 seconds into the second period, McNabb put the Kings back in front 12 seconds later on a soft goal, prompting Lightning coach Jon Cooper to turn to Bishop.

“We came right back and scored again, so the response to adversity is very positive,” said Anze Kopitar, who got his 400th career assist.

Lucic made it 3-1 by reaching out and tipping Jeff Carter’s pass past the right skate of Bishop. After scoring 18 goals in his final season with Boston, Lucic has 10 in his first 26 games with Los Angeles.

McNabb added an assist for his seventh career multipoint game.

Andreoff put Los Angeles ahead 1-0 on a fairly innocuous slap shot from the top of the circle midway through the first period. Vasilevskiy seemed to misjudge the shot, which sailed past his stick hand for Andreoff’s second goal of the season.

Nick Shore and Drew Doughty had assists on the play after Shore found Andreoff heading into the offensive zone ahead of a flat-footed Andrej Sustr.

Other than Andreoff’s goal, Tampa Bay largely controlled the first period but had little to show for it. Doughty thwarted a promising 2-on-1 break in the opening minutes by giving up his body to break up Tyler Johnson’s pass, and Quick made key stops against Jason Garrison and Jonathan Marchessault near the end of the period.

The Lightning could not break through on six power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 chance in the second. A sprawling Quick also denied Nikita Kucherov with a spectacular kick save early in the third.

“I thought we actually played pretty well,” Bishop said. “Quick made some big saves. It stinks losing the last one and flying home, but it’s a good road trip anytime you get four points out there.”

NOTES: After winning 10 of its first 11 games in Los Angeles, Tampa Bay has lost four straight on the Kings’ home ice. … Johnson returned to action after missing the previous three games with an undisclosed injury. … Kings C Trevor Lewis missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. … Los Angeles improved to 4-0-0 in the second of back-to-back games this season.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide