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Cats Trumped by Kings

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Jesse Agler's Post-game blog:

Almost fittingly on this Super Bowl weekend in South Florida, the Kings kicked the extra point with about 13 minutes to go, Mike Cammalleri scored his second of the night to make it 7-0. His other goal was the first of the game for LA, let's hope this one is the last for the Kings.

Panthers get a power play at 9:03 after Sean Avery and Greg Campbell dropped the gloves and Avery acted like, well, Sean Avery and got an extra two minutes for throwing a punch once the players were on the ice and the linesmen tried to separate them. Cats never really got set up and the score remains 7-0.

We shouldn't let the 40 year old Sean Burke get lost in all of this. While he has gotten plenty of support from his offense, he made plenty of nice saves, 40 in total, to become the first Kings goalie to shutout the Panthers.

I'll try and leave you with some positives. Tonight was an aberration. The Cats have played very well at home this year and have very rarely trailed by more than two or three goals at any point here in Sunrise. Additionally, we have seen the Panthers respond VERY well to bad losses not only this season, but last year as well. Only time will tell, but Tuesday night at Colorado is going to be a tough place to get back into a groove.

Still should be a fun trip, though, beginning, as I said, on Tuesday. Goldie and Moller will be on the air beginning at 8:30 for the 9 o'clock game in Denver. I'll blog next on Saturday, the next time the Panthers are at home, when Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes are in town for the only time this year. Until then...


2nd intermission blog:

Plenty of work to be done for the Panthers in the period and a great start as the Cats applied constant pressure in the first 90 seconds and drew a penalty, giving the Panthers a much-needed power play.

More bad news, though, as the power play lasted just 21 seconds—Rostislav Olesz was called for interference and it's time for wide-open, 4-on-4

Just after the brief LA power play expired, an odd-man rush developed for the Kings and Alexander Frolov, who had a goal taken away in a scoring change earlier tonight, got it right back—his 27th of the year—and it is now 4-0 Kings.

Olli Jokinen collides with Sean Burke and is called for interfering with the Los Angeles goaltender, so another power play for LA. Also, after a big hit in open ice by Jay Bouwmeester, the loveable Sean Avery, with his team up four, mind you, appears to be trolling for a dance partner. We'll keep an eye on that.

Cats kill off the penalty without too much contention and can now re-focus on trying to make a dent on the scoreboard. With about nine minutes left, Juraj Kolnik snapped off a beautiful shot that beat Burke, but not the post,
as the Panthers continue a night of near-misses.

Well, things continue to unravel, and in a hurry. Jamie Lundmark and Alexander Frolov have just scored two quick goals and in the blink of an
eye, it is 6-0 now. Each of the last two goals were scored on weak shotsthat somehow got past Alex Auld.

Panthers are now firing at will on Burke, just ripping shots as soon as they cross the blueline, but Burke continues to make the stops—trying to become the first Kings goalie to ever shutout the Cats.

Period finally comes to a close with the score 6-0. Looks like the Cats will be heading out on the road needing to pick up some points in Colorado and Minnesota. I'll be back after the game.


1st intermission report:

Panthers seem to start so quickly at home, scoring a ton of early goals...but tonight, it was the visiting team that struck first and struck early—as the Kings scored a goofy goal less than five minutes in. The puck deflected off a skate and took a funny hop past Ed Belfour and just like that, 1-0 Kings.

At 7:16, though, the Cats get a power play as Derek Armstrong is sent off for hooking. He took down Rostislav Olesz who was right in front of Kings' goalie Sean Burke and nearly got off a point-blank shot before he was hooked.

First part of the power play saw Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, and Martin Gelinas play together with Ruslan Salei and Jay Bouwmeester on the blue line. Definitely a combination we haven't seen much of with the Panthers a man up. The unit had a couple of chances, but the penalty was killed off and the Panthers still trail 1-0 now about midway through the first.

More bad a sloppy turnover in front of Belfour lead to Konstantin Pushkarev's second goal of the year, he beat Eddie one-on-one after a pass from Ruslan Salei to Anthony Stewart didn't connect with the intended target. 2-0 and now all this talk of a "trap" game is starting to feel a little too real. As Moller loves to say in two goal games: "the next goal is a huge one!" Simple, but true.

At this point, LA has just three shots on goal. Two of them are goals. And neither goal was exactly the result of a clean, offensive effort. Now, Bryan Allen is sent off for hooking and the Kings can play with the extra man.

Didn't take long for them to capitalize, as Dustin Brown found himself alone in front of the net with the puck and beat Belfour on a rebound chance: 3-0.

That's going to be it for Ed Belfour. Tough night, though none of the goals really were all his fault. The first was a strange deflection, the second a turnover right in front, and the third a defensive breakdown on the power play. Still, though, a goaltender is the last line of defense and Belfour made just three saves on only six shots faced. So, Alex Auld, who has struggled, gets a chance to help his team come from behind after the Cats have fallen behind here in the first.

Well, the very eventful first period has come to a close. Cats actually outshoot the Kings 11-10 but LA has a 3-0 lead after one and the Panthers have got plenty of work to do in the next 40 minutes. I'll be back after the second, hopefully with some good news.


Pre-game blog:

Well, the Panthers can pick up another couple of points tonight as they host the LA Kings in the only meeting of the season between these two teams. Panthers are coming off the very impressive 6-3 win over Washington on Thursday night, while LA, with the worst record in the Western Conference, fell that same night at home to the Blackhawks in overtime.

Hate to say it, because you never know what can happen, but this really isn't a game that the Panthers can afford to lose. Not that there are many they CAN afford to lose at this point, but the Kings are playing miserably right now, having lost 10 out of their last 11 games. On top of that, they've got the NHL's worst road record at 6-18 and this is the first game of a five-game trip for them, having flown in last night from LA.

On top of all of that, the Panthers will play four out of their next five games away from home after tonight and we all know that the Cats haven't exactly been a juggernaut on the road this season, either. With every two point opportunity so precious, a win tonight is basically a must.

Still, the Kings should not be underestimated. There is good talent on the roster and their goaltending situation has been sured up a little thanks to the return of #1 man Mathiue Garon, who has been out since January with a broken finger. Keep an eye out for Alexander Frolov, the dangerous winger who has 26 goals and 51 points this year. They also have a couple of d-men who know how to find the net and how to help others do the same: Lubomir Visnovsky as 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points and Rob Blake is 10-12-22. On their entire roster, LA has four guys with over 40 points, the Panthers have just two--and they are both former Kings: Jozef Stumpel with 41 (three last game) and captain Olli Jokinen has a team-high 53 points.

All in all, should be a fun night at the arena. Never know what you'll get when one of these Western Conference teams come in. Only get to see them two times every three years with the current scheduling system in the NHL, so don't miss this chance. If you don't make it out to the arena, we'll be on the air tonight beginning at 6 with Florida Panthers Weekend Edition--Todd Bertuzzi will join us on the show. Panther Preview driven by JM Lexus is at 7, and, as always, the puck drops at Bank Atlantic Center at 730. I'll be back after the first period, enjoy the game and Go Cats Go!


Pre-game report:

The Florida Panthers hope Jozef Stumpel can continue his surge Saturday and take advantage of the Western Conference-worst Los Angeles Kings when the teams meet for the only time this season.

Stumpel had two goals and an assist Thursday to lead Florida (20-23-10) to its third win in four games, 6-3 over Washington.

"We got a big performance out of people like Jozef Stumpel," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought his line was really excellent. Juraj Kolnik gave us a big game on that line, and it seems like the change of lines really helped out."

Stumpel appears to have benefited from Martin's changes that have added Kolnik, who had a goal and an assist Thursday, to his line with Rostislav Olesz.

Stumpel has 15 points over his last 11 games, including 10 points in five home games. The center had 26 points in the previous 41 overall contests and his point surge has moved him to second on the team in points behind Olli Jokinen (53).

"I feel comfortable out there," said Stumpel, who has 15 goals to match his total from last season. "We got this one done, and obviously we need to get the next one."

Stumpel looks to build on his recent performances and get his first point against Los Angeles - one of his former clubs - since Jan. 10, 2002, while with Boston. He had two stints with the Kings from 1997-2001 and again in 2003-04 before joining Florida as a free agent. The Czech Republic native had a career-best 79 points with Los Angeles in 1997-98.

His recent success has helped the Panthers go 6-1-1 at home since Dec. 23.

Jokinen, who played with Stumpel for the Kings from 1997-99, has been held without a goal in five straight games. He has 17 goals and 35 points in 26 home games this season, compared to five goals and 18 points in 27 road contests.

Jokinen has two points in seven games against his former club and was held pointless in the last two meetings - both losses.

The Kings (17-30-7) have won only once in their last 11 games (1-8-2), being outscored 41-23. Their woeful play has dropped them to the bottom of the West, four points behind 14th-place Chicago.

Los Angeles opens a season-high five-game road trip with the worst road record in the league at 6-18-0. The team is tied with Florida for the fewest road wins.

The Kings lost at home on Thursday, 3-2 in overtime to the Blackhawks.

Despite the defeat, center Jamie Lundmark appeared optimistic after scoring his first goal of the season in his second game with Los Angeles since being acquired in a trade from Calgary on Monday.

"It was definitely big for me," said Lundmark, who had not scored since April 15 against the Kings. "It's been a rough season so far in the goal department, to get one like that was big."

Los Angeles hopes Lundmark, a highly touted first-round draft choice by the New York Rangers in 1999, can build on the performance and help the team win for only the second time in nine road contests. He has 21 goals and 63 points in 205 NHL games.
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