Offensive struggles continue as Panthers fall 3-1 to Kings

Toothless Cats remain 0-for-California this season

The Florida Panthers offensive inconsistency (which is getting downright offensive) continued in a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in a Monday night tilt from the BB&T Center. The defeat dropped Florida back below the .500 mark at 8-9-4.

Los Angeles picked up right where they left off after they beat the Cats convincingly at Staples Center earlier this month. The Kings absolutely dominated the first period, pelting Al Montoya, who left the game at the 8:38 mark, and Roberto Luongo with eighteen shots, while allowing only four to the over-matched looking home side.

Tyler Toffoli notched the only goal of the stanza at 7:47, finding open ice in the right circle and quickly beating Montoya after taking a pass from Milan Lucic. Jeff Carter picked up the second assist on the play.

The Kings came close to adding to their lead less than a minute later when Dustin Brown broke in on a 2-on-1 with Nick Shore. Montoya denied Brown's shot and Shore crashed into the netminder after being pushed from behind by Nick Bjugstad as he knocked in the juicy rebound.

Montoya headed off the ice with an upper-body injury and the goal went to review and was denied. I know the Panthers dodged a bullet there, but that was a terrible call in my eyes. I mentioned this in the Gamethread last night and will again here: For a league constantly harping about a lack of scoring, they sure do disallow a lot of legitimate goals. The puck was still loose, the Kings player made a clean effort to knock it in and was shoved into Montoya by Bjugstad. That goal should have stood. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Moving on...

Although Quick wasn't busy in the first period, he did come up with two nice back-to-back saves on Brandon Pirri and then Aaron Ekblad's rebound when the score was still tied. Meanwhile, Luongo kept the Cats in the game, stopping all nine of the shots he faced, including a big blast from Anze Kopitar.

The Panthers came out in the second period and flipped the script on the visitors. Throwing shot after shot at the Kings net in an effort to first even the score and then grab the lead.

Jonathan Huberdeau drew a hooking call on Jake Muzzin at 4:47 and the Cats' potent power play went to work, striking pay dirt just twenty seconds later.

After some nice puck movement, Aleksander Barkov got the goal, his sixth of the season, after taking a pass from Jaromir Jagr and rifling it from the circle off Quick's pads and into the back of the net. Huberdeau also picked up an assist, his team-leading eleventh.

The Cats had another power play opportunity and continued to pile up the shots, but they couldn't light the lamp again to forge ahead.

Los Angeles would reply to the Barkov goal late in the period, off a broken play, to undo seventeen minutes of fine hockey from the Panthers.

Kyle Clifford let one go from long range after taking a drop pass from Jordan Nolan. Unfortunately, the puck didn't go through to the net. Instead, it struck Nolan and made its way over to Alec Martinez, who swept a backhander past an unprepared Luongo.

The Kings would come up with the clinching goal 1:05 into the final frame when Kopitar sent Marian Gaborik speeding into the Florida zone with a dump pass. Gaborik blew by a leaden Brian Campbell and easily beat Luongo for his third. Tanner Pearson started the play with a neat little takeaway in his own zone to collect the secondary helper.

The Panthers ended up with fifteen shots in the third, but didn't seriously threaten until they pulled Luongo for an extra attacker. With the net empty and a chance to make things interesting, Ekblad rang one off the post and Trocheck sent one into the stands with a gaping net staring at him; neatly summing up a night of missed opportunities.

Baubles & Bits

  • Al Montoya was making his first start since November 5th in San Jose. The Big Cubano looked sharp to start the game before getting run over. The injury appeared to be to his neck or head. Hopefully, he won't be out for long. Portland's Mike McKenna is starting at his phone.
  • Jonathan Quick posted his tenth win of the season, finishing the game with 33 saves to third star honors.
  • After failing to get on the score sheet in his first game back from injury, Aleksander Barkov has now bagged a goal in three straight games. Way to go Barky!
  • Roberto Luongo, who made 21 stops, dropped his third straight decision and remains tied with Glenn Hall with 407th career wins. Luongo did a fine job of relieving Montoya, especially in the second half of the opening period when the Kings were completing controlling play.
  • The Panthers out-shot Los Angeles by a whopping 30-14 margin over the final forty minutes, getting outscored 2-1 in the process. Houston, we have a problem and it's the same problem we always seem to have.
  • Tyler Toffoli, Marian Gaborik, Nick Shore and Dustin Brown each had four shots on goal. That quartet accounted for half of Los Angeles' grand total of 32.
  • Erik Gudbranson had another strong outing on the blue line, leading his team in hits (5) and blocks (3).
  • Click here for the war-on-ice advanced stats recap of the game.
  • Jewels From The Crown has the left coast slant on the capper of the Kings' season-series sweep of the Cats.

Highlights (courtesy of