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Tampa Bay Lightning defeats Los Angeles Kings

The Lightning’s Mark Recchi celebrates his first-period goal that made it 2-0. Vinny Lecavalier scored in the second period.

Associated Press

The Lightning’s Mark Recchi celebrates his first-period goal that made it 2-0. Vinny Lecavalier scored in the second period.

Lightning 2 1 0 3
Kings 0 1 0 1

LOS ANGELES —The Lightning's 3-1 victory over the Kings on Monday night at the Staples Center was not one for the text books; a grinding affair with missed passes, bouncing pucks and few scoring chances.

But Tampa Bay will take it as it improved to 3-1 on its five-game road trip and upped its unbeaten streak in Los Angeles to eight with two ties. It has three straight wins in Los Angeles.

Goaltender Mike Smith made 29 saves as Los Angeles had a 30-22 shot advantage. Center Vinny Lecavalier scored his team-high 17th goal and had two points and Tampa Bay (13-19-10 and in a 6-3-1 stretch) got goals in 41 seconds of the first period by Evgeny Artyukhin and Mark Recchi.

The Lightning took a 2-0 first-period lead.

Artyukhin sped down the right side and shot with 1:44 remaining. Recchi twirled in the slot and fired a backhander with 1:03 left off a pass from Lecavalier. Both shots slid under goalie Erik Ersberg.

Tampa Bay went ahead 3-0 5:48 into the second period on Lecavalier's one-timer from the faceoff circle to Ersberg's right off a pass from Marty St. Louis. That was it for Ersberg, who faced only seven shots and was pulled for Jonathan Quick.

Los Angeles trimmed its deficit to one with 1:58 left on Peter Harrold's slap shot from the high slot that deflected in off Smith's arm.

The Kings had seven shots during a power play that began with 2:47 left in the third period but could not get the puck past Smith.

PETTINGER STEPS UP: RW Matt Pettnger was rewarded with a spot on a line with Lecavalier and Vinny Prospal.

Coach Rick Tocchet said he believes it will be a good fit. Pettinger can skate and is responsible defensively, which will give Lecavalier and Prospal a greater margin for error.

"He was getting on loose pucks, and the last 10 games he was forechecking well," Tocchet said. "He showed what we're looking for and got a promotion."

STAMKOS VS. DOUGHTY: When Tampa Bay F Steven Stamkos, last summer's No. 1 draft choice, faced Kings D Drew Doughty, it was the first rookie matchup of the top two picks since Oct. 22, 2003, when Penguins G Marc-Andre Fleury, 2002's No. 1, faced Hurricanes C Eric Staal.

ODDS AND ENDS: Artyukhin's fourth goal tied a career best. … Defensemen Matt Smaby (lower body) and Steve Eminger (upper body) were scratched. Vladimir Mihalik was called up from AHL Norfolk, but Tampa Bay skated only five defensemen.

Tampa Bay Lightning defeats Los Angeles Kings 01/12/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 7:34am]
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