|@ Kings (9-5-0)||0||3||1||4|
- Garrett Wilson received a pass from Dmitry Kulikov deep in the Panthers’ zone and he proceeded to turn the puck over. This miscue by Wilson led to nearly a minute of offensive zone time for the Kings, and Luongo lost his stick during the sequence which could’ve been bad had the Kings gotten several shots on net.
- Nick Bjugstad had a golden opportunity to score about 5 minutes into the period. Jonathan Huberdeau picked up the puck in the neutral zone, skated over the blue line, passed the puck to Brian Campbell to the right of the slot and he found Bjugstad with a cross-ice pass, but the pucked bounced over his stick as he tried to swat it into the net.
- Quinton Howden was fairly physical in the period. On one shift, t here were two separate instances where he had a solid hit on Kings’ defenseman Alec Martinez.
- The Panthers were doing a noticeably good job at getting their sticks on the lanes of passes made by the Kings. Vincent Trocheck intercepted a pass at the front of the Panthers’ crease that was intended for Tyler Toffoli, Dmitry Kulikov stopped a cross-ice pass on a Kings’ 2-on-1, and Brian Campbell stopped a Kings’ player who was in 1-on-1.
- The Panthers had a power play, and while they had some good zone time during it, the three shots they took were all stopped by Jonathan Quick with ease. The forwards were mostly held to cycling the puck around the perimeter and couldn’t really get any quality opportunites.
- Shortly after the power play, Nick Bjugstad received a pass from Huberdeau, skated between two Kings after crossing the offensive zone blue line and rifled a wrist shot past Quick to give the Panthers a lead going into the 2nd period.
- Overall, the period was a tight checking affair and neither team saw many quality chances as most of the play was comprised of board battles and lots of back and forth skating.
- The Kings began the period with a lot of energy and immediately got to work on the forecheck. Throughout the 2nd, they were getting lots of shots on net and most of them were from around the blue-line.
- The Panthers had almost no zone time until the Kings were called for a goaltender interference penalty and then a delay of game penalty. On the ensuing 5-on-3 power play, the Panthers got one quality chance and it came off a Jonathan Huberdeau shot on goal that Jaromir Jagr would have tucked home at the side of the net were it not for a sprawled out Jonathan Quick.
- It wouldn’t take too long for the Kings to tie the game up after the Panthers’ power play. Quinton Howden was taken out of the play on the left wing in their own zone by Jeff Carter. Tyler Toffoli dangled through the slot with the puck and then set up Carter for a one-timer to make it 1-1.
- Roberto Luongo was impressive in the period as he made three huge saves to keep the game tied at 1. He saved a goal right after the Kings’ first goal of the game as Trevor Lewis got in on a mini breakaway but was denied by Luongo’s right pad. Milan Lucic blocked a shot in his own zone and then went in on a breakaway, but Luongo stopped that one with his blocker too. A minute or two later, a Jake Muzzin one-timer from the high slot was robbed by the left pad of Luongo.
- Erik Gudbranson would be called for hooking and Drew Doughty gave the Kings the 2-1 lead on a one-timer from the left face off circle. The Kings took a 3-1 lead on a backhand shot by Anze Kopitar from the side of the net after most of the Panthers’ skaters were out of position and not covering their man.
- The Panthers had essentially no offensive zone time in the 2nd period aside from the 5-on-3 powerplay which generated just one shot on goal. The Kings spent nearly the entire period in the offensive zone, and were it not for Luongo, things could have been much worse. The Panthers had just 4 shots in the period and 9 in total after it ended. The killing of the 5-on-3 advantage by the Kings was a huge turning point and gave them the jump they needed to score their 2nd and 3rd goals.
- The Panthers were noticeably better during the 3rd period and played much like they did in the 1st. They spent more time in the offensive zone and matched their first period shot total of 5 before the first half of the period was reached.
- The Kings, however, would score their 4th goal of the game after Jeff Carter put a floater on net and Milan Lucic redirected it before it reached Luongo. Just before that, Nick Bjugstad took a hard, late hit and went off the ice slowly, but he fortunately returned after the Kings’ goal.
- Reilly Smith had a nice play to break up a Nick Shore opportunity at the front of the Panthers’ net late in the period.
- The second half of the period was fairly uneventful and the Panthers were unable to really get anything going.
To put it simply, the Panthers were outplayed. Again. They started the game well, but the Kings stepped on the gas pedal in the second period and the Panthers were unable to keep up. The real turning point in the game was their inability to convert on the 5-on-3 opportunity early in the 2nd period, and that was all the Kings needed to get the momentum on their side and take over.
The Florida Panthers return home to face the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, and they’ll need to regroup in order to get back on the winning side of things once again.
Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.