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Vilardi comes out strong as Kings end 10-game skid against Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning had the opportunity to start a three-game west coast swing with a win against a team they had not lost to in the past ten matchups. Gabriel Vilardi and the Los Angeles Kings thought otherwise as they earned their first home win of the season with a strong 4-2 victory.

The Kings gained momentum throughout the game while the Bolts faded by the end. Vilardi scored a goal and had an assist to help Los Angeles take control, breaking the second-longest win streak against a team in the NHL.

A Tale of Two Tempos

The Lightning needed to come out quick and dominate early to notch their 11th-straight victory over the Kings. They appeared to be on track as they made big plays and attacked the puck from the start.

However, Phillip Danault opened the scoring in the first period for the Kings with a shot that squeaked past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Brandon Hagel responded later in the period with an equalizer past the Kings’ Jonathon Quick.

The Kings matched the early tempo and even ruffled the Lightning offensive attack by bringing their own fast-paced strategy into the mix. Blake Lizotte and Adrian Kempe both added goals for the Kings as they took control of the game in the second period and never looked back.

As the Kings built their lead, they continued to press throughout the game. Instead of resting on their lead, they forced the Lightning to work for every chance to enter the Kings’ defensive zone.

Los Angeles never relented their fast-paced tempo and overpowered the Bolts to submission.

Vilardi and the Second Period Haunt The Lightning

A lackluster second period would be the undoing of the Bolts tonight. The first four minutes were fast and furious for Tampa Bay as they outshot the Kings, 7-0.

The Kings upended the shot total the final 16 minutes of the period and put two more goals on the board. Overall, the Kings out shot the Lightning, 33-25.

Vilardi’s goal changed the momentum of the game as he was able to deflect Drew Doughty’s shot from the point past Vasilevskiy. The Kings rode that momentum through the rest of the game as the Bolts appeared to fade quickly.

“We didn’t push,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “That’s the disappointing part.”

Three Stars of the Game

Gabriel Vilardi – One goal on four shots and one assist. Vilardi found himself in the mix most of the night.

Jonathon Quick – Stopped 23 of 25 shots, including being 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. He also stopped the three shorthanded shots he faced.

Adrian Kempe – His third period goal put the game out of reach. Add in four big hits and Kempe was a force to be reckoned with.

What’s Next?

The Lightning (3-4-0) look to rebound against the Anaheim Ducks (1-4-1) on Wednesday night at 10pm ET.

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