The Florida Panthers overcame a third period deficit with two late goals to edge the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in matinee action from Staples Center.
Evgenii Dadonov scored with 6:13 to go to the tie the game and Jonathan Huberdeau bagged the winner with 1:56 remaining in regulation.
Hubderdeau and Aleksander Barkov set up Dadonov’s goal while Barkov combined with Dadonov to set up the game-winner as Florida’s first line combined for eight points.
Dadonov scored the only goal of the second period, from Barkov and Mike Matheson to put the Cats up 2-1.
The Kings got goals from Brenden Leipsic (1:07) and Anze Kopitar (9:44) to forge ahead in the third period.
Mike Hoffman opened the scoring with a power-play goal 4:10 into first period. Hoffman banged a one-timer from the top of the right circle by Jonathan Quick after taking a pass from Keith Yandle. The secondary assist on Hoffman’s 33rd of the season went to rookie Henrik Borgstrom.
Los Angeles countered with a power-play marker of their own 3:25 later when Drew Doughty sent Dustin Brown in alone on Sam Montembeault and he converted with a pretty backhand finish. Barkov was the Panther in the penalty box as he called for just his third penalty of the campaign.
Matheson used his wheels to create Florida’s second goal. Matheson took a pass from Huberdeau at center point and moved in off the boards towards the goal. His pass in front was meant for Barkov, who whiffed it on, but fortunately he tipped towards Dadonov, who was able to lift it over a diving Quick.
After Leipsic cashed in on a juicy rebound and Kopitar finished off a 3-on-2 break, that was poorly defended by Aaron Ekblad and Matheson, with a one-time from the slot, the Panthers rallied to even and then win the game,
Barkov sprung Dadonov and Huberdeau into the Kings’ zone on 2-on-2 break with a backhand pass. Dadonov shoveled a backhand pass through the defense as Huberdeau was going by Matt Roy. Huberdeau moved in on Quick, but instead of shooting, dropped the puck back to Dadonov, who fired in his second of the afternoon. Barkov hit the 80-point and 50-assist mark for the first time ever with the secondary on the beautiful scoring play.
The trio would click again with overtime looming. This time Dadonov started things off with a nice bounce pass off the boards down low to Barkov, who immediately backhanded it in front looking for Huberdeau. A back-checking Kopitar got his blade on the pass, but he it tapped through Alec Martinez’ legs to the waiting winger. Huberdeau backhanded the puck on net as he cruised by the net and banked it off of Quick’s skate, making sure it was in with a second swipe at the veteran goalie’s outstretched pad.
Montembeault finished with 24 stops to win his fourth straight start, giving his club a matching four-game winning streak.
The Panthers gained a point on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who lost in overtime to Boston. Florida will play its game in hand on Columbus tonight in Anaheim. A win at Honda Center will pull the Cats within six points of playoff spot.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)