Jeff Carter’s natural hat trick staked the Kings to a 3-0 lead and that was far more than enough offense as they pounded the Predators 5-1 last night. Mike Richards and Dwight King scored the other goals for Los Angeles while Gabriel Bourque’s goal with 6:55 left spoiled the shutout bid of Johnathan Bernier.

SPIN: The Kings continue their ascent towards a playoff spot and are looking good doing so. Defenseman Slava Voynov picked up three assists for the Kings and continues to be impressive on the blue line. The Kings are officially recovered from their Stanley Cup hangover and should be played as often as possible. Johnathan Bernier got the win for the Kings and is his career-best fifth straight win. Bernier is looking more like a quality back up to own should Johnathan Quick go down hurt.

Nashville, on the other hand, still fails to impress. Their offense is not firing at all. Goaltender Pekka Rinne got pulled in this one after allowing five goals on thirteen shots. The Predators have become prey on the penalty kill allowing eight goals on their last 16 penalty kills. If Rinne isn’t up to par, the Predators are worthless in fantasy.

Pittsburgh welcomed back Evgeni Malkin and he scored in the Penguins’4 -3 win over Tampa Bay. Steven Stamkos had a pair of goals for the Lightning while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist and Chris Kunitz lit the lamp for Pittsburgh.

SPIN: Malkin looks like he’s showing no ill effects from the concussion he suffered a few games ago when he want awkwardly into the boards. Use him with confidence. Kunitz has been a pleasant surprise this season and now has 12 goals this season. James Neal scored into an empty net with 52 seconds for his 14th of the season. It also turned out to be the game-winner as well. Crosby picked up his league-leading 25th assist in this game. Play your Pens with confidence.

Stamkos scored twice and continues to make his case as the best scorer in the league. His goal with eight seconds left in regulation would have tied the game at 3-3 but Neal’s empty-netter wound up downing the Bolts in this one. Vincent Lecavalier broke a five-game points drought with an assist on the final goal. Martin St. Louis also had a pair of assists for Tampa.

Toronto doubled up New Jersey 4-2. Marek Zidlicky scored both goals for the Devils in defeat. Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel were two of the Leafs’ four goal scorers.

SPIN: Kadri has come from seemingly nowhere and now leads the Leafs with 23 points in 23 games. Kessel finally lit the lamp at home for the first time this season. The Leafs were able to put together three goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period to erase the Devils’ 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Devils have lost five in a row and are skidding right out of the playoff picture. The Devils are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games and are starting to look more like bench fodder except for the bigger guns.

Phoenix picked up a second straight win over Anaheim 5-4 in a shootout. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists for Anaheim while Oliver Ekman-Larsson led Phoenix with a pair of assists.

SPIN: Shane Doan picked up his sixth goal of the season for Coyotes and has now scored in two of his last three games. He could be worth a pickup off the waiver wire as he’s a little streaky and could give a little boost. Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan both scored for Anaheim and continue to be valuable in fantasy as of late. They could be decent trade bait as the deadline approaches. Kyle Chipchurra had a pair of assists for Phoenix as well and would only be added in larger and.or deeper leagues. Jonas Hiller got the start in goal for Anaheim but didn’t look particularly effective and remains a waiver option at best.

Multiple Goal Scorers

Carter-LAK  HAT TRICK     Zidlicky-NJD; Stamkos-TB

Stat of the Night-California Screaming

The Predators got swept by the three California teams on the same road trip for the fifth time in franchise history.

Stat of the Night II-Phoenix Rising

With the win over Anaheim, Phoenix improved to 11-8-3 (25 points) and leapfrogged over a six-way logjam between Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Detroit for fourth place in the West. They’re also just eight points behind Anaheim for the division lead. Phoenix is 10-4-3 after a 1-4 start to the season.

Three Stars of the Night

1. Carter

2. Stamkos

3. Getzlaf

Tuesday’s Games (all times ET)
Tampa Bay at New Jersey 7pm

Montreal at NY islanders 7pm

Boston at Washington 7pm

Buffalo at Carolina 7pm

Edmonton at Columbus 7pm

Philadelphia at NY Rangers 730pm

Winnipeg at Florida 730pm

Colorado at Detroit 730pm

Minnesota at Chicago 830pm

San Jose at Vancouver 10pm

St. Louis at Los Angeles 1030pm