Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Justin Williams scored the only goal of the game and Jonathan Quick stopped all 24 shots he faced in Los Angeles's 1-0 decision over Tampa Bay at Staples Center. Ryan Smyth set up the game-winning tally for the Kings, who beat the visitors on home ice for the first time since November 6, 1997 at the Great Western Forum.
Quick improved to 8-1-0 on the season with his ninth career shutout for the hosts, who have won their initial five home games for the first time since 1980-81.
Mike Smith was the hard-luck loser, turning away 25 shots in defeat for the Lightning, who have dropped two in a row following wins in three out of four.
Anze Kopitar was denied by a sprawling Smith on a short-handed breakaway with about nine minutes left in the second period to keep the game scoreless.
LA finally broke through with 14:40 to play in the game
Mathieu Roy's attempted outlet pass hit Dana Tyrell's skate and was picked up by Smyth just inside the Bolts blueline. Smith backhanded a pass that Williams received on his backhand with his back to the net. Williams then spun to his forehand and slipped a shot past Smith to match a career-best with a goal in four straight games.
Tampa Bay pulled Smith with 50 seconds to play for the extra attacker but could not muster a good scoring chance over the next 20 seconds before the Kings cleared the zone.
The Lightning got the puck back in the attack zone for Martin St. Louis, who was denied on a wrister from the bottom of the right circle with 16 ticks to go. Tampa Bay sent a couple of shots toward the next in the final seconds but could not dent Quick.
The Kings were 0-5-2 against the Lightning at Staples Center before Thursday. Williams also tallied in four straight contests from December 19-26, 2006...He has scored 11 points in his last 10 games while Smyth has totaled eight points in his last 10 matches...Jarret Stoll, the third member of that line, picked up an assist and now has 11 points in his last 10 games...Quick is tied with Mario Lessard for the sixth most shutouts in team history...LA defenseman Drew Doughty returned to the lineup after missing the last six games because of a concussion...The Kings are off to their second best 12-game start in franchise history with 18 points...The best 12-game start came in 1980-81 when they went 10-1-1 for 21 points...Smith suffered his first loss in six starts against the Kings...The Lightning are 4-2-1 on the road.
(Sports Network) - A pair of first-place teams will battle tonight in Los Angeles as the Kings welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Staples Center for an interconference clash.
The Kings have been consistent since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, having yet to lose consecutive games this season. LA, which leads Dallas by two points for the Pacific lead, has won two straight and has four victories in its last five trips to the ice.
Los Angeles should also be well rested tonight, having last played on Saturday when it posted a 3-1 victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils. The time off has also helped get the club's top defenseman back to health, as Drew Doughty is expected to be activated from injured reserve and play tonight.
Doughty, a finalist for the Norris Trophy last year, hasn't played since suffering a concussion against Carolina on Oct. 20. He was off to a slow start to the season, posting just one assist in five games.
Kings forward Scott Parse is also expected to make his season debut tonight after missing the entire season so far with a groin injury. Parse had 11 goals and 24 points in 69 games as a rookie last season.
Jonathan Quick stopped 39 shots in Saturday's win against the Devils to improve his record to 7-1-0 on the season. The 24-year-old is also sporting a 1.84 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
"The bottom line is winning games in the National Hockey League, and I'm very pleased by the fact that we came back [from the road trip] and got two points," said Kings head coach Terry Murray. "It was a very hard game for us and I like the way we dug in. I know they out-played and out-shot us in the third period, but in critical times we responded."
The Kings have won all four of their home games this year and are playing the second test of a five-game residency at the Staples Center tonight.
The Lightning, meanwhile, will try to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time this year after dropping an overtime decision Wednesday night in Anaheim. Tampa is tied with Washington for first place in the Southeast Division with 16 points apiece.
Ryan Getzlaf's goal with 2:07 remaining in OT lifted the Ducks past Tampa Bay, 3-2, at the Honda Center on Wednesday. Blair Jones and Steven Stamkos tallied for the Lightning, who had won three of four coming into the game in Anaheim. Dan Ellis made 27 saves in defeat.
"We expected a tough game," said Stamkos. "They're struggling as of late and they're coming back home. They want to come out strong and I think they did that. It just took us too long to wake up. Our goaltender played great, made some big saves and kept us in the game. We got a point, but it wasn't our best effort."
The loss was just the second road defeat for the Lightning this season. Tampa, which is 4-1-1 away from home this year, will complete a four-game swing Saturday in San Jose.
Lightning forward Dominic Moore is expected to miss his fourth straight game with a groin injury tonight, while defenseman Matt Smaby is questionable with a sprained ankle. Smaby has also missed Tampa's last three games.
LA notched a shootout win in Tampa last year in the only meeting between the clubs in 2009-10. That win snapped a three-game series losing streak for the Kings, who are still 0-5 with a pair of ties in their last seven home tests against the Lightning.