The Los Angeles Kings' inability to win on the road ultimately doomed them in the playoffs last spring, but they're having no such issues away from home early this season.
The Kings look for a fourth straight victory overall and an NHL-best fourth road victory Tuesday night as they continue their four-game trip against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Los Angeles (4-2-0) dropped eight of nine outside of Staples Center in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, failing to come up with a victory in six tries during the conference semifinals and conference finals.
While the competition certainly hasn't been as stiff thus far in October, the Kings are looking quite comfortable outside of Southern California. After starting their trip to the Southeast with a 2-1 shootout win at Carolina on Friday, Los Angeles played suffocating defense in front of backup goaltender Ben Scrivens in Sunday's 3-0 victory at Florida.
"We just need to keep it going," winger Jordan Nolan told the league's official website. "(Coach) Darryl (Sutter) wants us to be ready at the start of the game. We've been strong the full 60 (minutes) these past two games. Our goalies have been great, our lines have been going and we'll be ready the next game, too."
As good as Scrivens was in his first start for the Kings, Jonathan Quick figures to be back between the pipes Tuesday.
Quick stopped 28 of 29 shots against the Hurricanes on Friday after posting a rocky .890 save percentage in his first four starts, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him stay sharp in Tampa. Quick is 3-0-0 with a 0.55 goals-against average in four games - three starts - against the Lightning (3-2-0), stopping 91 of 93 shots.
Tampa Bay has won all three of Ben Bishop's starts in net while allowing six total goals, but it's dropped both of Anders Lindback's outings while giving up eight. Lindback let in three in the final period Friday in a 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh, including Matt Niskanen's power-play winner with 18.6 seconds left.
That was the Penguins' third goal of the night with the man advantage. The Lightning have given up six during their 14 times short-handed over the past three games.
"From penalties to defensive zone and offensive zone coverage, to the penalty kill and the power play, it's a combination of everything," defenseman Eric Brewer told the team's official website. "We're just trying to make consistent plays and put the odds in all aspects of our game in our favor."
While Tampa Bay's penalty kill seems to need an overhaul, its power play certainly doesn't. The Lightning are 6 for 14 with the man advantage in their last four games.
All three of former King Teddy Purcell's goals have come on the power play - matching his total on special teams from last season.
Stars Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis lead the Lightning with seven points apiece, while all the Kings' goal-scoring from their forwards has come from the wings. Centers Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Colin Fraser and Trevor Lewis all have failed to find the back of the net.
Sutter separated the productive tandem of Richards and Jeff Carter at practice on Monday, pairing Carter with Kopitar and left wing Dwight King.
Los Angeles is looking for its first three-game regular-season road winning streak since Oct. 15-27, 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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