Injured Kings fall to defending Champs Tampa Bay Lighting but are still overachieving (1/06)

January 17, 2006: Los Angeles, California

 

Coming off of a 10-1 defeat in Buffalo, the Kings were looking to bounce back and reclaim momentum that had been going mostly forward this season.  Though they found themselves on the short end of a 4-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, the Kings do have something to build on.  It was a gut check of sorts and the Kings came out for the first period with great intensity against a very good skating and aggressive Lightning team. 

 

Despite some of the teams key players out with injuries including forwards Pavel Demitra, Jeremy Roenick, Eric Belanger and defensemen Aaron Miller and Lubomir Visnovsky the Kings have been forced into using their youngsters from their minor league affiliate in Manchester.  Though it may be a painful learning curve for the team in general, the recently recalled players (including D Richard Petiot making his NHL debut Tuesday) are bringing energy and hard work to a team that has been devastated by injuries. 

 

Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier had a goal and assist each and Norman Milley scored his first NHL goal into an empty net to put the game away for good.    Ex-Anaheim Mighty Duck Vaclav Prospal also chipped in two assist for a Tampa Bay team that looks more and more like a serious contender in the NHL, despite a 22-20-3 start.  Dustin Brown had the lone goal for the Kings to tie the game at 1-1 at in the first period as he put in a rebound from Sean Avery.  Vincent Lecavalier put in his 19th goal at of the 2nd period and Ruslan Fedotenko shortly followed with his 12th goal to put the Lightning up 3-1 to complete the scoring in the 2nd period as the Lightning never looked back.

 

The turning point in the game seemed to come prior to Lecavalier’s’ goal when Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera stoned a two on none break.  This seemed to give the Kings a lift and was shortly followed by a King’s power play.  But when the Kings were unable to capitalize on the ensuing power play, Lecavalier’s goal shortly there after helped reclaim the Lightning’s momentum for good.  Sean Avery also missed on a penalty shot after getting tripped on a breakaway.

    

Next up are the Atlanta Thrashers with San Jose and Anaheim finishing out the homestand.  Despite the loss, the Kings have been overachieving this year, especially with all their injuries.  Andy Murray has done a great job keeping the team together.

 

Notes:

Alex Frolov missed his first game of the season with what were reported as flu symptoms.  Mathieu Garon, who has been one of the main reasons for the Kings early success this year, had to leave in the first period after being hit in the shoulder with a shot.  It is not known at this time the severity of the injury but it seems like he will back soon…  Jason LaBarbera replaced Garon.  Roenick plans to be back in about 2 weeks and has been conditioning quite well. He has lost 15 lbs and eager to get back.  He was on the sidelines during the game dancing and cheering on his mates on his Birthday.  Former King Ziggy Palffy of the Pittsburgh Penguins just announced his retirement.  His team has been struggling all season and his shoulder that was injured the year before last with the Kings has just not recovered.