For a minute I was unsure if the Florida Panthers were playing the LA Kings or the Philadelphia Flyers. Coach Terry Murray had former Flyers Mike Richards and Simone Gagne paired together again on a line. No there was no mistaking it was indeed the LA Staples Center with their annoying high pitched screaming over the PA – GO KINGS GO!
Florida indeed had to go without the prolific scoring of Kris Versteeg who missed the game with a broken nose thanks to the hit he took in the Carolina game courtesy of Derek Joslin.
As the first period started Theodore was barraged again with most of the action in the Panthers zone. The Kings came out flying and buzzing around the Panthers zone. With 18:25 left in the first period Jack Johnson of LA shot a mean long wrister from Theordores’ top right face-off circle that was deflected and drastically changes directions. Theodore had no chance to stop this one. Just that quick it is 1-0 Kings. Assists on the goal went to Matt Green and Anze Kopitar. As the first period went on the Panthers seem to get their skating legs and the play went more in the Kings zone. Maybe they needed time to adjust to the time differential.
With only 3:44 left Mike Richards committed a hooking penalty on Sturm and the Panthers to the powerplay. The Kings are 9th in the league on the power-play. Even though the Panthers did not score the good thing not only did Florida get a power-play, but maybe more importantly the dangerous Mike Richards was off the ice. He and his line dominated the first period. With only 15 seconds left in the period Drew Doughty went off for tripping on Fleischmann so Florida will open the 2nd period with another power-play.
Theodore stopped 8 of 9 and Quick was perfect 13 for 13. The first period the SOG were 13-9 Florida, hits 4-19 LA, Face Offs won 13-6 Florida.
The power-play amounted to nothing for Florida but then at 17:30 Doughty again went off this time for high sticking and Cats to the power play. Then at 16:04 Greene went off for slashing so for 35 seconds the Panthers went 5 on 3. Quick made some light speed saves to kill the first penalty and then killed the second penalty off. This could change the momentum of the game in LA’s favor.
Most of the play in this period was in the Kings zone and if not for hot, hot goal tending from Quick the game remained 1-0 Kings. Then there was a fight between Fraser and Kearns did their dance. Fraser was probably trying to wake up the Kings.
Then at 7:04 goaltender interference was called on Santorelli and Kings to power-play. Then at 5:47 left the Kings took a 2 goal lead when Dustin Brown sent a snapper beating Theodore on the glove side. Assists went to Quick and Voynoff. Finally late in the period Bergenheim got a goal from in front of the net from rebound that was blasted from the point 2-1 Kings. Assists went to Gudbranson and Kopecky. There was a maylay with the Panthers getting a 4 minute double minor on Richards and to the power-play they went. Richards was upset by the hit shoulder hit Bergenheim put on him. The period ended 2-1 Kings. SOG 16-7 Florida even though they trailed they dictated the play in the 2nd period. Game was as I thought to this point a really good tight duel between two superb goalies.
The third period started with the Cats still on the power-play with 52 seconds left. Penalty killed and the period started with end to end action and went to a wide open style. The LA Kings were not going to sit on their lead. Richards the announcers said left the game apparently was rocked by that hit Bergenheim put on him that started the whole ruckus at the end of the 2nd. Both teams had numerous scoring chances and the Kings picked up their pace. As time started to wind down the Panthers started to buzz in the LA zone with pinching defensemen being down by a goal. Campbell started to take over the game every chance he could. The period went at a fast pace with minimal stoppages but ended scoreless in the third and 2-1 Kings winning the game.
This was a great game that despite the score had a lot of action. The Panthers had every chance to win this one but Quick was excellent and that was the difference in this game. SOG were 42-26 in the Panthers favor. This further illustrates how brilliant Quick was in the game. Florida will stay in the West and will take on the San Jose Sharks Saturday night. Again sorry Florida fans with another late puck drop at 10:30 pm local time but tune in it should be another good game in the West.