Bolts Resume Winning Ways in First Game at Staples After Bryant Tragedy


Tampa Bay Lightning v Los Angeles Kings

Tampa Bay Lightning v Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES - Steven Stamkos' second goal of the night, an empty-netter with five-tenths of a second left, sealed a 4-2 win for the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night.

The game marked the first sporting event hosted at the Staples Center in Los Angeles after the sudden death of nine people, including former Los Angeles Laker great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, on Sunday.

The Kings honored the Bryants and the seven other victims from Sunday's helicopter crash in pregame ceremonies, presenting a video tribute and asking those in attendance for 24 seconds of silence prior to the opening face-off.

Erik Cernak gave the Lightning their first lead on the night, 3-2, at 4:13 of the third period with a shot through a screen off the right point after a face-off.

The Kings opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Tyler Toffoli at 6:44 of the first period, and extended their lead early in the second period with a goal by Alex Iafollo.

Tyler Johnson got the Lightning back into the game, converting an easy tap-in on a 2-on-1 break with Ondrej Palat.

Stamkos evened the game at 2 after a wild Lightning power-play where Stamkos and others attempting to take shots on net had many of those shots blocked. Stamkos was the greatest victim, as several shots from his office area in the left circle were blocked by multiple Kings players who were playing spectacularly on the penalty kill.

However, Stamkos finally got a puck through the defenders and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick from the same area on a nice cross-ice feed from Nikita Kucherov.

The Lightning, 30-15-5, are 13-2-1 in their past 16 games, and remain in second place, five points behind the Boston Bruins. Andrei Vasilevskiy had 32 saves on the night.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

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