NHL Game Night: 1-3-19 Lightning at Kings

Lightning throttle the corpse of the LA Kings to cap first half of 2018/2019.

TB-6
LA-2

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 2 goals on 30 shots for the victory. There were times in the first 40 minutes he could've had a coffee break and it wouldn't have mattered because the workload was so light.

First Period
6:28 TB Kucherov (20), (Stamkos, Johnson)(PP)
7:53 TB Point (24), (Stamkos, Kucherov)(PP)
14:05 TB Callahan (4), (unassisted)

Second Period
0:25 TB McDonagh (4), (Point, Kucherov)
7:55 LA Wagner (4), (unassisted)
17:05 TB Stamkos (23), (Kucherov, Hedman)(PP)

Third Period
10:04 TB Joseph (10), (Callahan)
17:36 LA Doughty (4), (Kopitar, Brown)

Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Brayden Point were the game's three stars.

The LA Kings are the slowest hockey team in the NHL and they had zero chance against the Tampa Bay Lightning, especially after spotting them a pair of early power play goals. That team is a corpse of what it was a few years ago when they were competing for Cups. I thought Chicago was the saddest shell of their former selves. Nope. LA. Gracious, they couldn't even catch up to the Lightning to try to clutch, grab, and cheat even if they wanted to in order to try to keep it competitive.

The Lightning pull into the midway point of the campaign 12 points clear of the entire league, with a league leading +55 goal differential and a league leading 174 goals. Their win against the Kings extended a 16-game point streak that has started to feel like the unprecedented winning streak the Norfolk Admirals had the year they won the Calder Cup under Jon Cooper with a score of youngsters that now dot today's roster. It's historic. It's outstanding. It's thrilling...

It's also meaningless unless they win the Stanley Cup. There's a lot of plaudits to be thrown around about the way this team is playing and it has been a magical regular season thus far, but let's be real: Great teams require the validation of championships. Period. So, I think it's important not to overplay this regular season, which at most will give the Lightning potential home ice advantage in a prospective Game Seven playoff match-up. That's it. That's all they can win until we get to the back half of April and the real hockey season begins. So it's important for both the fans and the organization, top to bottom, not to get out over their skis about regular season play. It's nice. But it's just a warmup.

Mathieu Joseph had a goal and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 blocked shots in 10:33. He wasn't really noticeable until garbage time set in for the Third Period, but how many players do you know that have the blow-by speed not only to beat Drew Doughty around the corner, but beat him so completely he had to try the Pavel Kubina praying mantis move in desperation?

Anthony Cirelli had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 blocked shots in 16:50. He has now graduated from prospect status on the website with his 41st appearance this season.

Adam Erne was +1 with 3 shots and 4 hits in 11:52. Nearly had a couple of goals poaching in passing lanes and was generally effective all game long.

Erik Cernak had 3 hits in 17:46.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.