Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 6 @ Florida
October 13, 2013
12pm PST (3pm EST)
Sunday afternoon marks the second stop of their four-game road trip and the Los Angeles Kings have every intention of keeping their voyage east perfect when they travel to Sunrise to take on the 2-3-0 Florida Panthers.
Like their previous opponent, the Kings have not seen the Panthers in quite some time as the last time these two clubs squared off was back on February 9, 2012 in Florida with the Panthers winning by a 4-1 score. A lot has changed since then as Los Angeles hopes to make it two-straight wins.
In goal last game in Carolina, it was a battle between two Conn Smythe winners and that might just be the case again on Sunday as Florida’s Tim Thomas is questionable to start after pulling his groin last week versus Philadelphia. If Thomas isn’t ready to go, the Panthers will rely on Jacob Markstrom made 36 saves in his team’s last game to earn his first win of the season. The win, however, came after getting pulled in Tampa after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Should Thomas not be good to go by Sunday, the Kings will find themselves up against a Jekyll-and-Hyde type in the Florida goal.
In addition to Thomas’s injury, the Panthers have their share of injuries including veteran defenseman (and familiar foe) Ed Jovanovski whose hip ailment has prevented him from playing at all this season. The same can be said for Sean Bergenheim and Nick Bjustad whose father Scott spent a cup of coffee with the Kings back in the early ‘90s.
As for the Kings, they are over .500 for the first time this season and hope to continue their solid defensively play that was on display in Raleigh just a few nights ago.
In that game, Jonathan Quick redeemed himself from early-season criticism by making 27 saves en route to the victory. Offensively, it certainly wasn’t an exciting game but the Kings came together when it was needed most and won in the shootout courtesy of a Jeff Carter backhand.
Speaking of Quick and Carter, they are the two hottest Kings right now. Despite struggling in the shootout for the past couple of seasons, Quick has been up-to-par in the extra session thus far, stopping all five shots he faced in Los Angeles’s two shootout wins.
Jeff Carter meanwhile leads the Kings with four goals in five games and has scored in both of his shootout attempts so far.
As for the Panthers, while they have offensive threats in Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann, they have rookie Aleksander Barkov (taken 2nd-overall in 2013) who has registered five points in his first five games. Veteran Brad Boyes has also been making some noise in Sunrise, scoring four goals in his last three games. The aforementioned Fleischmann certainly isn’t lacking either having scored once and adding three assists in his last game.
This will be the first of just two meetings between the Kings and Panthers this season as the two clubs don’t meet again until March 22 when Florida pays a visit to Staples Center.
It may not be a big turnout at BB&T Center on Sunday afternoon but you can safely bet that Kings’ fans all over the continent and beyond will be tuning in to this one anyway.
Enjoy the game!