Despite icing a roster heavy on Charlotte Checkers, the undermanned Cats put 42 shots on Kings netminder Jonathan Quick, but the veteran keeper was up to the task and held Florida to just a single goal.
Call-up Matt Kiersted opened the scoring with his first NHL goal at the 14:56 mark of the first period. The Panthers broke out of their own zone after a Los Angeles turnover. with Sam Reinhart eventually passing to Jonathan Huberdeau and Huberdeau patiently waiting before finding Kiersted, who slung a low backhander by Quick.
The Kings responded 2;09 later when Olli Maatta’s backdoor pass intended for Trevor Moore deflected in off MacKenzie Weegar. Moore and Carl Grundstrom earned the assists on Maatta’s first of the season.
Anze Kopitar took an outlet pass from Sean Durzi and beat Sergei Bobrovsky with a rising backhander to put Los Angeles up 3:27 into the second period. Alex Iafallo picked up the secondary assist on the play.
Dustin Brown put the Kings up by two when he caught up to a loose puck in the neutral zone and worked his way through Weegar and Kiersted before beating a sprawling Bobrovsky with 2:55 left in the frame. Matt Roy earned the lone assist on the highlight reel goal by smacking a Huberdeau pass out of his own end.
Arthur Kaliyev would complete the scoring 7:02 into the third with a wrister from the high slot after Blake Lizotte was able to bull the puck over the Panthers blue line.
Florida outshot and outhit the Kings, but the combination of a short roster, Quick and a wonky power play that went 0 for 4 was too much to overcome, sending the suddenly spiraling team to yet another loss. The Panthers are scheduled to face the Minnesota Wild on Saturday afternoon.
Baubles & Bits
- The Panthers, who played with eleven forwards and five defensemen, lost three in a row in regulation for the first time this season.
- 2019 third-rounder Cole Schwindt made his NHL debut and finished with five hits and a -2 rating in 9:57 of ice time.
- Olli Maatta’s goal was his first-ever with Los Angeles. The last time Maatta lit the lamp was as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks on February 4, 2020, a long span of 681 days.
- In addition to setting up Florida’s only goal, Jonathan Huberdeau registered a game-high seven shots on goal. Anthony Duclair was right behind with six, but neither could solve Jonathan Quick.
- While Quick was busy stopping 41 shots, Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 27 of the 31 shots he faced,
- Anze Kopitar’s goal was his 59th career game-winner, tying the legendary Marcel Dionne for second most on the Kings’ all-time list.
- For more on the game, pay a visit to Jewels from The Crown. It’s been awhile...