On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2015 in front of a sellout crowd of 18,230 at STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Kings got back to their winning ways as they defeated the visiting Florida Panthers by a score of 4-1. Much like they had done in the previous game, which was a 3-2 loss to Columbus on Thursday night, over the course of the first two periods, the Kings outshot their opponent by a wide margin.
Against Columbus, they held the Blue Jackets without a shot in the 2nd period and held a 23-8 edge in shots on goal after two periods, though they trailed 2-1. After one period against Florida, the Kings held a 10-5 edge in shots on goal, but trailed 1-0. The main difference was that the Kings were really able to make a breakthrough in the 2nd period by scoring three goals to put the game out of reach. It was a period in which the Kings outshot Florida 20-4.
The real momentum shift came in the 2nd period when Florida still led 1-0. At the 7:57 mark, Kings center Jeff Carter was called for goaltender interference. With just 45 seconds of power play time having elapsed, Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was called for ‘delay of game’, when he attempted to clear the puck and inadvertently cleared it all the way over the glass and into the crowd. After that came the most important 1:15 of the game, as the Kings held the Panthers to just two shots on goal despite being short two players. Having kept the visiting team off the scoreboard, the home team then kicked up the intensity and put the Panthers away.
Though Jeff Carter scored the Kings first goal at 13:16 of the 2nd period to tie the score 1-1, it appeared as though Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo may steal the show. As the 2nd period wound down, he made three great saves in succession; two of which were on breakaway chances by Trevor Lewis and Milan Lucic. The Kings finally broke through when Drew Doughty scored a power play goal with just 3:21 remaining and Anze Kopitar scored less than a minute later. That quickly, the Kings had built a 3-1 lead which they would not relinquish. At 8:57 of the 3rd period, Milan Lucic scored the final goal of the game.
After having started the season 0-3, the Kings are now 9-2 in their last 11 games and sit atop the Pacific division with 18 total points. They are currently tied with Nashville and Winnipeg for the third highest point total in the Western Conference.
The homestand continues with a game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night, Nov. 10. Prior to the game , longtime Kings radio announcer Nick Nickson will be honored as part of the Kings “Legends Nights” series. The honor will come one night after Nickson is officially inducted into the broadcasters wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Nov. 7, 2015: Final score – Kings 4, Florida 1. Final shots on goal – KINGS 35, FLA 19. Power play: KINGS 1-1, FLA 0-3. Three Stars of the game: 1) Jeff Carter – KINGS, 2) Tyler Toffoli – KINGS, 3) Milan Lucic – KINGS. Goaltenders: Jonathan Quick – KINGS, Roberto Luongo – FLA.
Kings forward line combinations:
Kings defense pairings: