The Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers will meet for the second time in nine days when they face off at Staples Center on Saturday night.
The Kings have been in a bit of a rough patch lately having gone 1-3-0 in their last four games. In those games, they have been outscored 18-9, which included a pair of 5-0 losses in Washington and Tampa Bay, and have given up five goals in three of the four games.
Los Angeles’ most recent game, a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, came in the team’s first game after their league-mandated bye week. A 41-save performance by Arizona’s Mike Smith coupled with four goals against on just 21 shots against Los Angeles’ Peter Budaj doomed the Kings. The loss dropped them out of the Western Conference’s final wild-card spot.
Florida will be playing their second game in as many nights when they take on the Kings and it will be game number four of a five-game trip that ends in St. Louis on Monday.
The Panthers won in Anaheim on Friday night and improved their record in the month of February to 4-1-0. James Reimer made 35 saves and four different players found the back of the net in Florida’s 4-1 win. After falling behind 1-0, Florida scored four unanswered goals, including this highlight-reel goal by 45-year-old Jaromir Jagr which eventually counted as the game-winning goal.
Ironically, the lone blemish on the Panthers’ February record and the only win for the Kings in February came when the Kings were in Flordia just over a week ago. Jeff Carter had two goals and four points and Peter Budaj made 36 saves in Los Angeles’ 6-3 win.
Florida Panthers @ Los Angeles Kings
Staples Center – 7:00 PM PST Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
Broadcast Channels: FS-W, FS-F
2016-17 Season Series:
Feb. 9, 2016 – Kings 6 – Panthers 3
Los Angeles Kings – 28-24-4 – 60 Points
Home Record: 15-9-1
Hot Players: Tanner Pearson and Dustin Brown
Key Injuries: Jonathan Quick
Adrian Kempe– Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford – Nic Dowd – Marian Gaborik
Dwight King – Nick Shore – Trevor Lewis
Derek Forbort– Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb – Paul LaDue
Florida Panthers – 26-20-10 – 62 Points
Away Record: 12-10-7
Hot Players: Jaromir Jagr and Vincent Trochek
Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen – Vincent Trochek – Reilly Smith
Michael Sgarbossa – Nick Bjustad – Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton – Derek Mackenzie – Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle – Jason Demers
Mark Pysyk – Aaron Ekblad
Michael Matheson – Alex Petrovic
Roberto Luongo (Expected)
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Since posting back-to-back shutouts to open the month of February, Peter Budaj has had some trouble stopping the puck for the Kings. In the four games since his 17-save shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers, Budaj has allowed three or more goals in every game and has posted a .833 save percentage.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Carter, the Kings’ leader in goals, has scored in only one of his last four games. That game being the Kings’ road game in Florida just over a week ago. He lit the lamp twice in that game and could see a familiar opponent as a chance to get his offense flowing again on Saturday night.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Through the first three games of their current five-game road trip, the Panthers have shown a bit of offensive prowess scoring 17 goals. On the flip side, they have also allowed totals of four, five and one goals against in those games, so the offense has been needed.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Jagr’s game-winning goal on Friday night was point number 1,901 and the 135th game-winner of his career. The 23-year vet is also going into Saturday’s game riding a four-game point streak.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]20-year-old Adrian Kempe made his NHL debut in the Kings’ loss to the Coyotes. He had four shot attempts, two of them on net, and a minus-one rating in 15:18 of ice time.