If it wasn't for a late breakdown in the neutral zone by the first line, Scott Clemmensen would likely have picked up his second shutout of the season. As it was, the Panthers played a solid if unspectacular game and picked up a much needed win. They started the night one point behind the Capitals for first in the Southeast Division and two points behind eighth-place Senators in the Eastern Conference, but ended the evening in third thanks to the Caps, who blew a two-goal lead late to lose in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets.
The Panthers started out solidly enough in the first, but then took two offensive zone penalties. They limited the Kings to three shots on the two power plays, but were outshot 8-5 at even strength. They came back much stronger in the second period, limiting the Kings to three shots over the period. The Kings limited the Panthers to six, but they scored on two of them. After the Panthers scored two goals on eleven shots in the first two periods, Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulled Jonathan Quick and replaced him with Jonathan Bernier to start the third period. Bernier did not let in any more goals, but that wasn't enough to spark the Kings to victory. Both teams spent more times on the offensive in the third period, but the only goals were late, with the last being into an empty net to seal the victory.
- Sean Bergenheim (10), from Marcel Goc (7) and Mike Weaver (12) 4:52
- Mike Santorelli (7), from Tomas Fleischmann (22) 17:14
- Drew Doughty (5), from Dustin Brown (15) and Anze Kopitar (31) 17:32
- Matt Bradley (3), from Shawn Matthias (11) and Jason Garrison (10) 19:11
- The Cats had a solid start to the first period, though overall shots were limited to two for the Kings in the first six minutes, when Tomas Kopecky took a tripping penalty. The Panthers killed the penalty, allowing just one shot, before finally getting their first shot on goal just before 10:00.
- Not a big crowd for a Thursday night game against a Western Conference team, but those who were there let Mike Richards know they remember him and don't like him very much.
- While overall more solid in the first period, the Panthers took some sloppy offensive zone penalties. The Panthers need to tighten things down and play better in the offensive zone.
- Bergenheim's goal was once again the result of good work by Marcel Goc. Goc drew the attention of several Kings, then dished the puck to Bergenheim. No one was paying attention to Bergy and I don't think Jonathan Quick even saw the shot coming.
- The Panthers could possibly use a bigger guy on the first line. Tomas Fleischmann is having trouble getting around or through guys. Stephen Weiss isn't exactly the biggest guy either, and a big forward who can skate might help them get into better position to make shots, instead of fighting to get the puck in the zone and then maybe getting one shot off before it goes the other way. That said, Fleischmann did win a puck battle behind the net to get the pass off to Santorelli for a goal.
- The Panthers two second period goals were scored off the transition. When they skate, the Cats are good at scoring goals as they speed into the zone. They still need to work on holding the puck in the zone for second chances.
- The second period was much better than the first. After being outshot 11-5 in the first, they outshot the Kings 6-3 in the second and outscored them 2-0.
- A little bit was made of Sean Bergenheim's hit on Mike Richards a few months ago that gave Richards a concussion and the possibility of retribution, but both players looked like they were more interested in scoring goals than in much of anything else.
- Mike Santorelli earned himself a promotion with his good play in the game, taking Matt Bradley's place on right wing on the Matthias line.
- The Panthers were shot blocking machines, blocking eighteen shots to the Kings' four. Taking the lead were Mike Weaver and Jason Garrison with four each.
John's First Star: Marcel Goc. The Cats missed Goc during the middle of the season and since his return, his play has been steadily improving back to his early season form. Goc is a smart player and a hard worker who has played on all four lines in his NHL career. Tonight, his line with Mikael Samuelsson and Sean Bergenheim were active all game and he made good plays on both sides of the puck.
John's Worst Star: Stephen Weiss. If it wasn't for his offensive zone hooking penalty in the first, not getting himself into position to take a pass from Kris Versteeg on a 2-on-1, or missing Duston Brown's pass to Drew Doughty on his goal, he would have been the most invisible player in the game. The best part of Weiss' game tonight was his 12 faceoff wins, the last of which ended up on Matt Bradley's stick and into an empty net for the late insurance goal.