After winning their last four games, inching closer into the last wild card spot, the Florida Panthers faced off against the Los Angeles Kings, searching for their fifth straight victory.
The Panthers came out with the flare that a motivated hockey team would come out with. They were beating the Kings to every puck in their zone, causing havoc in front of goal. All four lines were cycling the puck well, while generating high quality scoring chances in result.
But, Florida ran into some trouble when Keith Yandle took a tripping penalty early on, forcing the Panthers to kill off an early penalty. Fortunately enough, the Panthers penalty killing unit killed off the penalty with ease, giving the Kings little time to spare in their own zone.
After Yandle’s penalty was killed, the Cats remained in control of the game, pouring constant pressure down deep in the Kings’ territory. Being rewarded for their hard play, the Panthers were able to find a man advantage of their own, thanks to Kyle Clifford (holding).
Florida managed to cash in on their first man advantage of the night, courtesy of Aaron Ekblad. It all started when Denis Malgin sent a wrist shot wide, which bounced off the boards and headed straight to Aaron Ekblad. Once receiving the puck on his stick, Ekblad wristed a shot over Quick and in:
Shortly after Ekblad’s goal, the entire momentum of the game changed. The Kings, who had just conceded a goal to the Panthers, had managed to change the outlook of the game. Los Angeles were really turning on the pressure in Florida’s zone, giving the fans a bit of a scare at times.
Although, with Sateri’s solid presence in-goal, none of the Kings’ opportunities materialized into any goals. With Harri’s play closing out the period strong, the Panthers would head into the locker room up by a goal after a period of play.
Los Angeles carried over their strong dominance into the beginning of the second, scoring in the opening three minutes. Forward Nick Shore danced his way around Alex Petrovic, sniping a shot over Sateri’s glove and in:
Fortunately, with a little wake up call from the Kings early goal, the Panthers turned on the jets quickly, replicating their play from the early first period. But unlike the first, the Panthers were unable to find the back of the net, struggling to score against Jonathan Quick.
With Quick preserving the score at one apiece, he gave his side an excellent opportunity at taking the lead. Luckily enough, the Kings struck again in the closing four minutes of the period. Jonny Brodzinski’s backhand deflected off Denis Malgin and in, giving the Kings their first lead of the night:
Jonny’s lucky goal sent LA into the locker room up by a goal after two periods of play. For the Panthers, it was a period they’d love to have back, between their slow start to open the second and the lucky second goal that the Kings pounced on.
It was crucial that Florida would begin the third on the right foot, pushing for an early equalizer. Unfortunately though, that’s not how things went down. Exactly twenty-five seconds into the final frame and Anze Kopitar extended his team’s lead to two goals.
Iafallo sent a cross-crease pass to Kopitar near goal, which the Slovenian tapped home top-corner, giving the Kings a 3-1 cushion:
It wasn’t too long after where the Panthers received a power play, given the opportunity to cut the Kings lead in half. The man advantage was perfectly set up in the Kings zone, but it was the execution that was poor. Florida failed to cash in on their power play, wasting a perfect chance to get back in the hockey game.
As the Cats continued to throw everything at Quick, the more he continued to come up big. Whether it was a scramble in front or a shot from the corner, Jonathan Quick was there to deny them all, sealing victory for the Los Angeles Kings (3-1).
In closing, the Florida Panthers played well through parts of the game, but ultimately failed to capitalize on their chances. Your Panthers are back in action on Monday, February 12th @ 9:00pm against the Edmonton Oilers!