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Florida swings through Los Angeles with familiar faces

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

PANTHERS (6-4-5) at KINGS (9-5-4)


CAT CALL: This is the first of two meetings with the Florida Panthers this season; the teams will conclude their season series on February 5 in Sunrise, FL at the BB&T Center. Florida is currently on a four-game road swing through California and Nashville, Tennessee. The Panthers won the first game of their trip Sunday evening 6-2 against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. Florida has won two of their previous three games, scoring 13 goals in that span.

WELCOME BACK, WILLIE: Willie Mitchell returns to STAPLES Center tonight for the first time since signing a two-year deal with the Panthers on July 1. Mitchell spent four years with the Kings, playing three full seasons while helping the Kings win two Stanley Cup championships. In 15 games with Florida this season, Mitchell has one goal and one assist. Mitchell will receive his 2014 Stanley Cup championship ring prior to tonight’s game.

LUONGO: Al Montoya got the start in net for Florida Sunday night in Anaheim, so expect Roberto Luongo to get the call for the Panthers tonight. Luongo was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Panthers on March 4 of last season, and has made one start against the Kings in a Florida uniform since. Luongo allowed four goals on 29 shots in his one game against the Kings since his trade to the Panthers, he comes into the night with a 5-3-4 record, a .927 SV% and a 2.24 GAA.

LINE DANCING: Darryl Sutter mixed up the lines quite a bit during Monday’s practice, but with no line rushes taken during today’s optional morning skate, no combinations are set in stone. Trevor Lewis skated on the first line alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, Tanner Pearson with Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams on the third line, and Mike Richards with Kyle Clifford and Dustin Brown on the fourth line. Dwight King skated on the second line with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, so there is a chance he slides into the lineup for Jordan Nolan after being a healthy scratch for the first time against Anaheim on Saturday. Jonathan Quick will start in net.

AN OLD FRIEND: Mark Morris, who was hired as an assistant coach by Florida over the summer, returns to face his old organization for the first time since stepping down last spring after eight seasons behind the bench for the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. Morris is the only coach to record at least 300 wins at both the collegiate and professional level; Morris spent 13 seasons as Clarkson University’s head coach before joining the Kings’ organization. Morris led the Monarchs to the playoffs in seven of his eight seasons as Manchester’s head coach.

RED HOT FLORIDA: Although the Panthers come into the night 27th in the NHL in offense, they’ve lit up the score sheet lately, scoring a combined 13 goals in their previous three games. Florida is 2-0-1 in those last three games, including a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks last Tuesday, and most recently, a 6-2 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night. The Panthers didn’t score a single goal against the Kings in two meetings last season.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings outscored Florida 7-0 in two games against the Panthers last season. On October 13 of last season, Ben Scrivens pitched a shutout in a 3-0 Kings win in Sunrise, FL at the BB&T Center. In Los Angeles on March 22 of last season, Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, shutting out the Panthers in a 4-0 win at STAPLES Center. Trevor Lewis scored the game-winning goal and had two points in the win. The Kings have won their last five games against the Panthers at STAPLES Center, dating back to December 10, 2005. Florida hasn’t won a game in Los Angeles since November 27, 2002.


DODGERS PRIDE NIGHT: To celebrate our local baseball team, the Kings will don specialty Dodgers warmup jerseys before tonight's game. All jerseys will be auctioned off during the game, with all proceeds benefitting the Kings Care Foundations. The live auction will be up when the game starts. To bid, click here.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 7:00PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop at 7:30PM PT.

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