LOS ANGELES (AP) - Reuniting Pavol Demitra and Craig Conroy this season turned out to be a great decision by the Los Angeles Kings. Coming to the Florida Panthers hasn't worked out nearly as well for Joe Nieuwendyk.
Demitra scored a power-play goal in the first period and a short-handed one in the second, leading the Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
Michael Cammalleri also scored and Mathieu Garon made 35 saves for Los Angeles, which totaled more than two goals for the first time in seven games. The Kings are 16-4 when getting at least three.
"We played great for 60 minutes, which is what we have to do every night," Demitra said. "Every game is huge for us and we need every single point we can get because everyone's so close."
Nieuwendyk, whose 537th career goal was the extent of Florida's offense, vented his frustration after the loss.
"That's a team we should beat, and we don't. That just shows you where we are. I mean, we have so far to go, it it's not even funny," the 39-year-old center said. "We find ways to lose, and that's the sign of not a very good hockey club right now."
Nieuwendyk, who signed with Florida in August, expected much better results.
"No one thinks it's going to be this way, but I'm in this with the rest of them," the 19-year veteran said. "You have to be determined to turn this thing around, but until we all look at ourselves in the mirror and make the commitment, it's not going to happen. We're going to see this story again and again."
The Panthers lost their fourth straight overall and 12th in a row on the road to extend the franchise record. They've won only three of 21 and haven't earned a road victory since beating Pittsburgh 4-3 in overtime on Oct. 25.
The Kings, just 3-for-53 on the power play over their previous eight games, opened the scoring at 18:25 of the first period with 2 seconds left on a 5-on-3 advantage. Demitra, standing at the right of the net, was attempting to pass the puck through the crease to Conroy when it deflected off the skate of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and off the right pad of Roberto Luongo before trickling across the goal line.
The Panthers have allowed at least one power-play goal in eight straight games, and 21 of 22.
Demitra made it 2-0 at 14:58 of the second period with his 16th goal and eighth in 11 games. Teammate Eric Belanger was serving a roughing penalty when Demitra took a long lead pass from Conroy, made a perfect head fake to get Luongo commit to his right and flipped a short backhander past the goalie's glove for his seventh career short-handed goal and third this season.
"An offensive player like Pavol just reads that kind of play," said Conroy, who spent three seasons with Demitra in St. Louis. "I heard him kind of yell before I went and got the puck, so I knew he was going to be up there. I turned and looked for him and just tried to give it to him as quick as I could so that he could do the rest.
"I knew on that breakaway that he would make an interesting move, and poor Luongo didn't have a chance on that one," Conroy said. "He's dangerous on those breakaways, especially when he comes in slow like that."
Luongo finished with 29 saves. He was pulled from his last two starts, after giving up nine goals on 44 shots against Ottawa and Dallas. He has faced 906 shots in 28 games, more than any other goalie.
Notes: Panthers C Gregory Campbell, the son of NHL disciplinarian and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, has only four penalty minutes in 18 games. ... Demitra has 11 goals in 15 career games against the Panthers. ... Florida was 0-for-3 on the power play, ending a string of 12 straight games in which the Kings allowed a man-advantage goal.
|PPG - Pavol Demitra (15) ASST: Lubomir Visnovsky (19), Joe Corvo (9)|
1 - 0 LAK
|SHG - Pavol Demitra (16) ASST: Craig Conroy (18), Aaron Miller (3)|
2 - 0 LAK
|Mike Cammalleri (8) ASST: Derek Armstrong (10), Mattias Norstrom (8)|
3 - 0 LAK
|Joe Nieuwendyk (4) ASST: Nathan Horton (4), Rostislav Olesz (3)|
3 - 1 LAK
|Power Play %||22.1%||19.4%|
|% on Road||10.0%||22.2%|
|% at Home||29.8%||17.5%|
|Alexei Semenov Hooking against Lubomir Visnovsky|
|Stephen Weiss Tripping against Pavol Demitra|
|Jeff Cowan Interference against Juraj Kolnik|
|Joe Nieuwendyk Interference on goalkeeper against Mathieu Garon|
|Lukas Krajicek Tripping against Dustin Brown|
|Eric Belanger Roughing against Alexei Semenov|
|Alexei Semenov Tripping against Pavol Demitra|
|Steve Montador Closing hand on puck|
|Derek Armstrong Hooking against Martin Gelinas|