The Florida Panthers were here at the Staples Center Tuesday Night to take on the L.A. Kings. The Panthers have had a pretty good start to the season. Before Tuesday their record was 6-4-5 with 17 points. If you look at the teams the Panthers have beaten this season, you know they can give the Kings a tough game. They beat the San Jose Sharks in Miami and then the Ducks in Anaheim. It looked like they could have gotten a second road win here in the Staples Center
But the Kings were coming off a solid win over the Ducks, a rubber match that went into overtime. So, going into the game these two teams looked to be very evenly matched.
The Kings are trying to get back their championship winning ways, which means tough, suffocating defense and lots of shots at the goal. Before this game it was all the Kings could do to get 25 shots at the goal in a game. In the first two periods against the Panthers L.A. had 25 shots and four goals. In the third period they only took two shots at the net, one scoring a goal on a power play.
The game started slow. The Panthers played well enough to keep the Kings from scoring, but they didn’t get any in the net either. Both teams had power play opportunities in the first period, but they couldn’t score. Neither team was skating very well in that period and the fans at the Staples Center began to let them know it.
The second period was was a different story. The Kings came out on the ice with new energy and began the business of scoring goals. First Matt Greene got a tip-in with assists from Anze Kopitar and Brayden McNabb and then when Vincent Trochek took the penalty box the Kings took advantage of the power play when Jeff Carter snapped a shot in from 20 feet. Dwight King and Jamie McBain assisted
Derek Mckenzie was called for tripping so the Kings had another power play opportunity and Marian Gaborik backhanded a shot with assists from Kopitar and Jake Mussin. And with less than a minute left in the period Robyn Regehr snapped in a goal with assists from Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty.
The Panthers started a comeback in the third, scoring two goals, the first on a power play by Jimmy Hayes and the second from Jussi Jokinen, but the Kings defense tightened up so that was all the scoring the Panthers could put in the net.
Dustin Brown was able to score the fifth goal for the Kings on a power play late in the game, making the final score 5-2 for L.A.
One of the big keys for the Kings tonight was scoring on power plays. Both teams had six penalties, but it was L.A. that took advantage of them, scoring three goals when they had the advantage.
One part of the game the Kings need to improve on is swarming the net, looking for second chance opportunities to score. They were comfortably ahead in the third, even with Florida’s two goals, but they didn’t keep up the pressure on the Panthers in that final period. In their loss to the Ducks in Anaheim, the Kings only took 26 shots at the goal. The Ducks took almost twice as many: 49.
In their loss to the Dallas Stars the Kings only took 27 shots. Dallas had the same number of shots at the net, but they were able to score two goals.
The season is still young and the best teams will only improve, the Kings included. Their record right now is 8-5-4 and rank fourth in the Pacific Division. Head coach Darryl Sutter was his usual self. When asked about his team’s big second period, especially with the two power play goals, the coach said, “We have to learn how to play 60 minutes.”
He’s keeping it real.
Tonight the Kings will face the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that is struggling right now. The Kings should win this one, here in the Staples Center, but the Hurricanes beat the Kings November 2 so it could be closer than expected.
All photos by Claudia Gestro
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.