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Cernak, Stamkos lead Lightning; Kings honor Kobe with touching tribute

The Los Angeles Kings paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday ahead of the first sporting event at the Staples Center since Bryant's death.

Erik Cernak broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period and the Tampa Bay Lightning topped the Los Angeles Kings, 4-2.

Steven Stamkos scored twice, Tyler Johnson also lit the lamp for Tampa Bay, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves as the Lightning improved to 6-0-0 against the Pacific Division this season.

Tyler Toffoli and Alex Iafallo scored as the Kings’ losing streak reached five games.

Kings pay Tribute to Kobe

It was the first sporting event in the Staples Center since the tragic helicopter crash. Fans poured into the arena sporting Kobe Bryant jerseys, honoring the five-time NBA Champion.

In addition, The Los Angeles Kings players broke their traditional dress code and wore Bryant jerseys when they entered the venue earlier in the day.

Prior to puck drop, the Kings organized a moving ceremony to pay tribute to the NBA legend and the other victims of the horrific accident with a 24-second moment of silence.

Doughty’s streak comes to an end

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s iron man streak ended at 460 games when the alternate captain was scratched against the Lightning.

Doughty left Sunday’s practice due to an undisclosed injury but head coach Todd McLellan does not expect the injury to be long term. The defenseman might return to the lineup Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.