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Three-goal burst carries Kings past Panthers

by Curtis Zupke /

LOS ANGELES -- The Florida Panthers had a 75-second window to increase their lead and change the path of the game Saturday. But the Los Angeles Kings' penalty kill prevailed and they were off and running.

Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar scored in a span of 4:18 in the second period to give Los Angeles a 4-1 win at Staples Center.

The Kings' three-goal spree came after they killed a 5-on-3 disadvantage for 1:15.

"I think that was a big emotional momentum changer for us, and to come out two or three shifts later and tie it 1-1 was probably the turning point of the game," Los Angeles forward Milan Lucic said. "It was good to see the killer instinct in the guys to not look back after that."

Lucic scored in the third period, and goalie Jonathan Quick made 18 saves for the Kings (9-5-0), who had lost two of three.

The Panthers have lost five in a row (0-3-2), including three on this California trip (0-2-1).

Carter put Tyler Toffoli's pass into an open net at 13:16 after Toffoli deftly circled to the high slot. Carter (seven) and Toffoli (nine) have combined to score 16 of the Kings' 35 goals.

Carter has a three-game scoring streak and 13 points in the past nine games.

"It's great to see him kind of take it over and lead the team in the right direction, turning it around after the 0-3 start," Lucic said. "He's one of those guys that wants to score and wants to be a part of contributing to a team's success, and that's what you need out of your big guys and your leaders."

Doughty scored his first goal of the season on a one-timer from Jake Muzzin that slipped through Florida goalie Roberto Luongo on a power play at 16:39. Kopitar's second-chance nudge at the puck at the left post at 17:34 made it 3-1.

Nick Bjugstad scored Florida's goal with 29 seconds left in the first period. He carried the puck across the right side of the neutral zone and beat Quick with a shot to the far side.

The Panthers were outshot 20-4 in the second period and have not scored a third-period goal in their losing streak.

"We're a better team than what our record shows, and I think that's what's more shocking than anything," defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. "Unfortunately we get into these little five-minute spurts during games where the wheels fall off, and we've really got to clean that up. There's no excuse for it."

Kings coach Darryl Sutter scratched defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and used rookie Derek Forbort, who got his first NHL point with an assist on Carter's goal.

Florida has lost seven straight at Staples Center. Its last win came Nov. 27, 2002.

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant credited the Kings, who held leading scorer Jaromir Jagr without a shot.

"To me, that's a team that you've seen win two Stanley Cups in the last four or five years," Gallant said. "They play a man's game, and we've still got some kids in there, and we talked about it. We have to step up, and you learn a lot of things when you play a team like them.

"I'm not disappointed. I'm disappointed with about six or seven minutes tonight."

Kopitar, with his 223rd NHL goal, passed Charlie Simmer for seventh on the Kings all-time list.

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