Fresh off shootout wins, Kings and Panthers meet
Monday, 11.16.2009 / 7:30 PM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
KINGS (12-7-2) at PANTHERS (7-9-1)
Last 10 -- Kings 5-3-2; Panthers 5-4-1.
Season series -- This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. Drew Doughty had two assists to lead Los Angeles to a 3-2 victory against Florida on Nov. 6, 2008 at the Staples Center.
Big story -- Both teams are feeling confident after picking up shootout victories on Saturday. The Kings won in controversial fashion when an overtime goal by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros was disallowed due to goalie interference. Anze Kopitar then scored the lone goal in the shootout to lead L.A. to a 2-1 victory. Florida, meanwhile, rallied from an early 2-0 deficit, blew a 4-2 lead in the third period and then rallied in the shootout to beat the New York Islanders, 5-4.
Kings -- Los Angeles needed Saturday's win to lift its spirits after being blown out in a 7-0 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday. Another win on Monday would make the flight back to Los Angeles much more enjoyable as the Kings conclude a five-game road trip.
"It was not fun," Kopitar said of the Atlanta loss. "It was a great bounce-back for our team. I think it showed the great character of this team, that we never let down and let it get under our skin. Hopefully we can keep it going."
Panthers -- Florida is still finding its way but has played better as of late. The Panthers are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and have two shutouts to their credit this month. Saturday's win was their second straight as they blanked the Boston Bruins a 1-0 victory on Thursday in Beantown. But Florida coach Peter DeBoer would like to see his team tighten up defensively when it has a lead.
"We picked up four points against a hot team in the Islanders and in Boston in a tough rink," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "You fix one problem and another problem crops up. We're (winning) shootouts now unlike last year. Last year we did a good job holding leads and now we can't hold leads."
Who's hot -- Kopitar has been sensational this season and leads the League in scoring with 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) and has recorded points in 17 of 21 games this season. … Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun has won four of his last five starts and is tied with Ilya Bryzgalov and Tim Thomas for the NHL lead with three shutouts. Left wing Cory Stillman has four goals in his last six contests.
Injury report -- Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is on the injured reserve list due to a sprained ankle. … Panthers forward David Booth (concussion) is out indefinitely, while Nick Tarnasky (facial surgery) is also on IR.
Stat pack -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 28 of 29 shots on Saturday, just one night after being pulled in Atlanta, where he allowed three goals on 14 shots. … Panthers forward Rostislav Olesz has already matched last season's goal total (4).
Puck drop -- The Kings can make a statement by finishing this road trip with a winning record as they continue their push for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2002. They'll be tested by a hot goalie in Florida, as Vokoun has been one of the better goalies in the League this month.