Saturday, May 18, 2024

Kings fend off Panthers for 3rd straight win

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  • Kings center Blake Lizotte goes for the puck during the...

    Kings center Blake Lizotte goes for the puck during the first period of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings left wing Alex Iafallo, right, looks for an open...

    Kings left wing Alex Iafallo, right, looks for an open teammate past Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour during the first period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings center Blake Lizotte, right, and Florida Panthers center Sam...

    Kings center Blake Lizotte, right, and Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart battle for the puck during the first period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings center Anze Kopitar is congratulated by teammates after scoring...

    Kings center Anze Kopitar is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the first period of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings center Alex Turcotte, left, and Florida Panthers defenseman Radko...

    Kings center Alex Turcotte, left, and Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas battle for position during the first period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings right wing Adrian Kempe, right, is congratulated by defenseman...

    Kings right wing Adrian Kempe, right, is congratulated by defenseman Sean Durzi after Kempe scored during the first period of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings center Blake Lizotte, right, goes down as he battles...

    Kings center Blake Lizotte, right, goes down as he battles for the puck with Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad during the second period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) celebrates with defenseman Mikey...

    Kings right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) celebrates with defenseman Mikey Anderson after Arvidsson scored against Florida Panthers goaltender Alex Lyon, left, during the second period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, left, attempts a shot at...

    Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, left, attempts a shot at Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley during the second period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg, center foreground, celebrates after...

    Florida Panthers left wing Ryan Lomberg, center foreground, celebrates after scoring during the second period of their game against the Kings on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Kings center Jaret...

    Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Kings center Jaret Anderson-Dolan battle for the puck during the second period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour, left, celebrates with center Carter...

    Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour, left, celebrates with center Carter Verhaeghe after Montour scored during the second period of their game against the Kings on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers center Eric Staal, left, attempts a shot as...

    Florida Panthers center Eric Staal, left, attempts a shot as Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley, right, and defenseman Drew Doughty defend the net during the third period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers center Carter Verhaeghe, right, and Kings right wing...

    Florida Panthers center Carter Verhaeghe, right, and Kings right wing Viktor Arvidsson battle for the puck during the third period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, left, and Kings center Phillip...

    Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, left, and Kings center Phillip Danault battle for the puck during the third period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings defenseman Sean Durzi, top, and Florida Panthers center Sam...

    Kings defenseman Sean Durzi, top, and Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett battle for the puck during the third period on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley, second from left, is congratulated by...

    Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley, second from left, is congratulated by teammates Sean Durzi, left, Samuel Fagemo and Alex Iafallo, right, after he had 45 saves in their 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings right wing Viktor Arvidsson warms up before the start...

    Kings right wing Viktor Arvidsson warms up before the start of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stretches before the start of their...

    Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stretches before the start of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

  • Kings left wing Kevin Fiala warms up before the start...

    Kings left wing Kevin Fiala warms up before the start of their game against the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

By GEORGE RICHARDS The Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Kings will need to grind their way to wins at times to keep pace in a tight Pacific Division race, and they were up to the task Friday night.

Adrian Kempe had a short-handed goal and an assist, Pheonix Copley made a career-high 45 saves and the Kings held on to beat the Florida Panthers, 4-3, 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 29 saves while making his fourth consecutive start in place of the injured Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Kings scored twice within a span of four-plus minutes toward the end of the first period, going ahead 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.

UP NEXT

The Kings play at Tampa Bay on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT.

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