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GAME: Florida Panthers (9-17-4) at Los Angeles Kings (17-12-1).

TIME: Saturday, 4 p.m. EST.

The Los Angeles Kings are trying to recapture the success they enjoyed at home over the first six weeks of the season.

Los Angeles will try to avoid their season-high third straight loss on home ice when it welcomes the Florida Panthers to Staples Center.

The Kings started the season with 10 wins in 13 home games, including a five-game winning streak from Oct. 29-Nov. 26. Over the last two games though, Los Angeles has been held to a total of four goals in losses to the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes.

The Kings nearly came back from a three-goal deficit Thursday as Jeff Cowan and Eric Belanger scored in the third period of a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes.

It was the sixth straight game in which the Kings failed to score more than two goals and in each of those games, the Kings allowed the opposition to score first.

"The way we played in the first period was unacceptable," said Kings captain Mattias Norstrom. "The first 20 minutes cost us the game. We dominated for 30 minutes, but that's not good enough. We dug too big of a hole with the 3-0 deficit."

Veteran Luc Robitaille has failed to score in five straight games and still needs four goals to move past Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne and become the Kings' all-time leading scorer.

Robitaille, in his third stint with Los Angeles, has scored 547 of his 658 career goals in a Kings uniform. He has eight goals and 15 assists in 27 career games against the Panthers.

Florida's latest losing streak reached three games with a 6-2 loss Thursday to the resurgent San Jose Sharks. Stephen Weiss and former King Jozef Stumpel scored for Florida.

Florida has given up 16 goals during its latest skid.

"It's disappointing, that's all I can say," defenseman Mike Van Ryn said.

The Panthers have had three losing streaks of at least three games this season.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 9): Panthers - 22 points, 4th place, 16 PB, Southeast Division. Kings - 35 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Olli Jokinen, 12 goals, 15 assists, 27 points and 42 PIM. Kings - Pavol Demitra, 14 goals, 22 assists and 36 points; Sean Avery, 108 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 9): Panthers - Power play: 14.2 percent (23 for 162), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.3 percent (150 for 189), 25th. Kings - Power play: 14.3 percent (28 for 195), 27th. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (150 for 182), 14th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Roberto Luongo (9-13-4, 2 SO, 3.33 GAA); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 0, 3.10). Kings - Mathieu Garon (9-7-0, 0, 2.86); Jason LaBarbera (8-5-1, 0, 2.89).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Kings, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 5, 2003; Kings, 3-2. At Sunrise, Fla., Jon Sim scored to give the Kings a 3-0 lead 11:29 into the second period and Los Angeles held on to beat Florida.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 2-11-3 on the road; Kings - 10-5-0 at home.

Associated Press
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