Kings hold on to beat Panthers 4-3 for 3rd straight win
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Adrian Kempe had a short-handed goal and an assist, Pheonix Copley made a career-high 41 saves and the Los Angeles Kings held on to beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Friday night for their third straight win.
Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson and Matt Roy also scored for the Kings, who led 3-0 midway through the second period.
Ryan Lomberg and Brandon Montour scored in the second to get the Panthers within 3-2, but Roy's late empty-netter sealed Florida's third straight loss.
“We showed big-time character,” Copley said. “They weathered the storm and then we got our game going.”
Carter Verhaeghe added a last-minute goal for the Panthers and Alex Lyon had 28 saves while making his fourth consecutive start in place of the injured Sergei Bobrovsky.
Los Angeles scored twice within a span of four-plus minutes toward the end of the first period, going up 2-0 when Kempe connected on an odd-man rush while killing a Florida power play.
The Kings got their second short-handed goal of the game from Arvidsson to make it 3-0 at 9:58 of the second period.
“We were sluggish in the first and probably should have kept it at two (goals down) to have a chance,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “Our guys were frustrated with ones down in front they could not quite get a handle on but they did not quit.”
Florida made a charge with Lomberg scoring off a backhanded shot from the slot with 6:37 left in the second. Montour followed about three minutes later with a hard slap shot from the left circle.
“Good teams, when the momentum swings as much as it did tonight, find ways to win. That’s what we did,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “From a negative side, we were up 3-0 and a couple of quick goals put us on our heels. They are a tough team to play.”
The Panthers temporarily lost top defenseman Gustav Forsling to injury in the second period when his skate was taken out by the stick blade of Alex Turcotte as the two went into the corner.
Forsling lost his footing and slammed hard into the boards, apparently injuring his left leg. He had to be helped off the ice but returned in the third period.
Turcotte was assessed a 5-minute major for boarding.
NOTES: Florida captain Aleksander Barkov was named to next weekend’s All-Star Game, which the Panthers are hosting. Barkov replaces Toronto star Auston Matthews, who was was ruled out with a knee sprain. “It is home here in Florida, so it means even more. I’m really happy, honored and proud to be here,’’ Barkov said. ... With an assist on Verhaeghe’s late goal, Barkov set a career high with points in 10 consecutive games. ... With its two NHL goalies still out with injuries, Florida called up Mack Guzda from the AHL to back up Lyon. ... Florida fell to 0-17-1 when trailing after two periods.
Kings: At Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Panthers: Host Boston on Saturday night.
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