LA Kings best plays from Jan. 3 game against Tampa Bay
YouTube/NHL

The Los Angeles Kings had a tough 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Staples Center, however there are still reasons for Kings fans to be optimistic. At times throughout the contest, the Kings made some very impressive plays that deserved high praise.

Here are four of the Kings top plays against the best team in the National Hockey League on Jan. 3. 

1. Austin Wagner goal  
At 7:55 of the second period, Austin Wagner scored a beautiful goal on the breakaway past Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The goal was unassisted and was Wagner's fourth goal of the season. On Dec. 18, Wagner scored twice in a 4-1 Kings win over the Winnipeg Jets. 

2. Jonathan Quick stops Tyler Johnson on breakaway--Just over a minute after Wagner scored for the Kings, there was a great save by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on a breakaway attempt by Lightning sniper Tyler Johnson. The save was key for the Kings at the time as it kept them in the hockey game. 

3. Doughty and Leipsic create scoring chances with one-timers--Both Drew Doughty and Brendan Leipsic had great one-timers throughout the hockey game. In the second period, Leipsic's shot from the slot was saved by Vasilevskiy, while in the third period Doughty scored his fourth of the season from Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. It was a very special game for Brown as he played in his 1076th game and tied him with Luc Robitaille for second place on the Kings all-time list. 

4. Jake Muzzin has strong opening minutes-- In the early stages of the hockey game, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin had a positive impact offensively and defensively. He had a scoring chance offensively when he delivered a hard shot on Vasilevskiy and then stopped Lightning forward Brayden Point from generating a scoring opportunity by effectively getting in his way. 

The Kings next play the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 5. Get your tickets for the game at the Staples Center today.