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Quick's 33 saves help Kings defeat Panthers

by Alain Poupart /

SUNRISE, Fla. — Defenseman Alec Martinez and goalie Jonathan Quick bounced back with big performances Monday to help the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Florida Panthers.

Martinez scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, and Quick made 33 saves in the Kings’ 3-1 win at BB&T Center.

The deciding goal in a 4-3 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday went in off Martinez’s skate.

“I’m just happy I was able to put it in the right one this time,” Martinez said.

Quick was pulled after allowing four goals on 21 shots against Carolina.

“He’s the best goalie in the world and he never quits on pucks,”���Martinez said. “He’s always staying in the battle and staying in the fight.”

Tyler Toffoli and Marian Gaborik also scored for the Kings (13-8-0), who won for the first time in three games.

Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers (8-9-4), who have lost three in a row and nine of their past 12 (3-6-3).

Florida has been held to one goal in three of its past four games.

“We talked in the locker room about how we weren’t a bad team and we could play a lot better,”���Barkov said. “We knew we could skate harder and put pucks to the net. I think we did in the second and third periods.

“We tried to score more goals, but that’s a problem right now.”

Goalie Al Montoya made his first start for Florida since Nov. 5 but left midway through the first period after sustaining an apparent head injury.

Montoya was injured when he collided with Kings forward Nick Shore after stopping Dustin Brown's wrist shot on a 2-on-1. Shore’s shoulder appeared to hit Montoya's head when he dove headfirst to try to poke home the rebound.

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant did not have an update on Montoya’s condition after the game.

The puck went into the net on the play, but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled Shore interfered with Montoya before the puck crossed the goal line. Los Angeles challenged the ruling, but it was upheld after video review.

Montoya left at 8:38 of the first period with Los Angeles leading 1-0. He made saves on seven of eight shots.

Roberto Luongo, who had started Florida's previous seven games, replaced Montoya and made 21 saves.

“These things happen. Hopefully, it’s not something serious with [Montoya],”���Luongo said. “You’ve got to be ready for a situation like that.”

The Kings swept the season series. They won 4-1 at Staples Center on Nov. 7 and have defeated the Panthers in 12 of their past 14 games.

Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty had a streak of seven games with at least one penalty come to an end. Florida forward Jaromir Jagr had an assist but remains one goal behind Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the NHL's all-time list with 731.

Martinez scored at 17:16 of the second period after Kyle Clifford's slap shot from the top of the right circle hit teammate Jordan Nolan. The puck slid across to Martinez, who backhanded it past Luongo.

“It was a good play by [Nolan] and [Clifford]���there,”���Martinez said. “I���just saw an opportunity to jump up in the rush, and every once in a while you get a gratuitous bounce like that.”

Los Angeles almost added to its lead 30 seconds later, but Tanner Pearson hit the post on a breakaway.

Gaborik made it 3-1 at 1:05 of the third period when he got a nice flip pass from Anze Kopitar in the neutral zone, skated around Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell and flipped a short-range shot over Luongo's glove.

“Nothing surprises me with [Kopitar], to be honest,”���������Toffoli said. “That was a great goal by [Gaborik]. It was good patience and just lifting it right over the shoulder.”

Kopitar has four points in his past three games. He had seven in the first 18.

“I got the puck in the D zone and saw [Gaborik]���������had some speed and I was thinking about different ways of giving it to him,” Kopitar said. “The play that came to my mind was getting it over the top and lay it there for him. I wanted to make sure it’s not too much to the outside and the guy can’t cut it off. Obviously, it worked out for us.”

Quick's best save in the third period came with 9:07 left when he snagged Jonathan Huberdeau's wrist shot from the left circle. Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad hit the post with a little more than a minute remaining.

“He was great,”���������Gaborik said of Quick. “He kept us in the game. He was unbelievable in net. He made key saves. They’re a very good offensive power on the other side there, and he came up big.”

The Kings dominated the first period, outshooting the Panthers 18-4. Luongo madde several big saves in the period, including a pad stop on Doughty's one-timer on a Kings power play.

The Panthers had the better of the play for most of the second period, when they outshot the Kings 15-7.

Barkov tied it at 5:07 of the second with a power-play goal. After getting a pass from Jagr in the right circle, Barkov quickly spun and fired a wrist shot that found its way into the net after bouncing off Quick's blocker and pad.

“The first 20 (minutes) was real bad, and that cost us the game,”���������Gallant said. “It was 1-0, and we competed and battled hard, but you’ve got to be more consistent out of the gate against a team like L.A. We had a real good second. We pushed hard at the end (of the game), but it was a little too late.”

Toffoli opened the scoring with his 11th goal at 7:47 of the first period.

Los Angeles improved to 2-2-0 on a five-game road trip that concludes Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Florida is 1-2-1 on a five-game homestand that wraps up Friday against the New York Islanders.

“That’s .500 (on the road trip), we know that’s not a playoff hockey team,”���������Toffoli said. “We know going into Tampa what they bring as a hockey team. That’s going to be a huge game. We want to finish this road trip on the right note.”

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