After getting their four-game road trip off to a rousing start in Anaheim, the Florida Panthers found things a little less welcoming in Los Angeles, as the Kings exploded for four second period goals en route to a 5-2 win.
The Cats got off to a good start, out-shooting the Stanley Cup champions 13-6 in the first period, but could not beat Jonathan Quick to take the lead. Quick denied Brad Boyes, Jussi Jokinen and Vincent Trocheck in short order with the Cats on a power play to keep the game scoreless.
Los Angeles turned the tables in the second to end Roberto Luongo's night after just forty minutes.
Matt Greene started the barrage off at 4:32 by sneaking down low and redirecting Brayden McNabb's pass into the Panthers' cage. Anze Kopitar got the second assist on Greene's first of the season.
With the Kings on a power play midway through the frame, Jeff Carter finished off the nice passing of Dwight King and Jamie McBain to give the home side a two-goal advantage. Carter's shot caught Erik Gudbranson on its way into the net.
Los Angeles' struck again on the power play 4:32 later. This time, Marian Gaborik jammed a loose puck in front past Luongo. Kopitar and Jake Muzzin drew the helpers on the goal.
With eight seconds left in the period, Carter beat Colby Robak to the puck deep in the Panthers' zone and fed Robyn Regehr, who fired past the Florida keeper glove-side. Luongo finished his night with 21 saves on 25 shots.
The Panthers showed some moxie in third by rallying for two goals in the first 6:55 of the period to halve the deficit.
Jimmy Hayes got the first one by poking in a rebound of Jonathan Huberdeau's shot from in close. Nick Bjugstad followed up his four-point night in Anaheim with the secondary helper on Hayes' power-play goal.
A shot by a driving Hayes led to the second Cats goal, as Jokinen was there to knock the rebound past Quick for his second of the campaign. Trocheck picked up his fifth assist, and sixth point, of the season on the play.
Unfortunately, the Cats would get no closer, and Dustin Brown would ice the game at 16:49 with the Kings third power-play of the night with Justin Williams and McNabb picking up the assists.
Tough night for Florida. The Cats outplayed the Kings in the first but the offense couldn't finish to give Luongo a lead to work with. After a fine run, the PK collapsed again and allowed L.A.'s power play to go a very efficient 3 for 6. Not a recipe for winning in a hostile building on the road. The Panthers leave SoCal and head north to the Bay Area where they will look to sweep the season-series against the Sharks, a team they have had a lot success against the last few years.
Odds & Ends
- After playing two periods in San Antonio earlier in the day, rookie Rocco Grimaldi suited up for an ailing Aleksander Barkov and logged 10:36 TOI with 2 shots on goal.
- The loss was Roberto Luongo eighth-straight against the Kings. Good thing we only see these guys twice a year.
- Al Montoya had a quiet third period, facing just two shots as Los Angeles ran out the clock on their tenth win of the year.
- That the Panthers scored at all was a bit of an achievement. The Kings shut the Cats out in both meetings last season.
- Defenseman Willie Mitchell received his Stanley Cup ring before the game and got a nice ovation from the Staples Center crowd during a timeout in the first period.
- After not scoring in the first four games of the season, Jussi Jokinen has 12 points in the last 12 games. Jokinen, the team scoring leader, is on pace to easily eclipse the 38 points Nick Bjugstad put up to lead the Cats last season.
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