Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 71 vs. Florida
March 22, 2014
1pm PST (4pm EST)
It is a rare occurrence but on Saturday afternoon, the Los Angeles Kings will host the Florida Panthers hoping to sweep the season series with maintaining (or extending) their lead over Phoenix in the Pacific standings.
This will be the second and final meeting between the Kings and Panthers with Los Angeles drawing first blood back on October 13. Then, the silver-and-black entered Sunrise’s BankAtlantic Center and blanked Florida by a 3-0 score. For the Panthers, this will be their first trip to Los Angeles since December 1, 2011. The Kings, however, despite their mediocre mark in matinee affairs are 8-1-0 against their friends from Southern Florida dating all the way back to November 5, 2003.
Since these two teams met last, the Panthers made a change in goal. Just a few weeks ago, they re-acquired goaltender Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks. While the Kings are very familiar with the one they call Bobby Lou, there is no guarantee that their success against the two-time Olympic gold-medallist will continue. After all, Luongo’s recent time in Vancouver was tumultuous to say the least. While the Panthers aren’t contending for a playoff spot this year, Luongo feels right at home, literally. The veteran netminder lives in Florida, is the team’s clear-cut No. 1 and since coming over, has posted a 2.42 GAA with one shutout. Luongo, however, also has a 3-3-1 mark since becoming a Panther again, which the Kings hope to capitalize on.
As for as the situation on the other end of the ice goes, the Kings have a decision to make. Given their opponent’s 26-36-8 mark and an godly goals for/against ratio of -52, it would seem most rational to start their less-experienced (but as just as capable) netminder in rookie Martin Jones. This would also be Jones’s very first start against Florida. Fresh off his franchise-tying 171st win, however, Jonathan Quick is on the precipice of making Los Angeles Kings history as one more win would put him past Rogie Vachon as the club’s all-time winningest goaltender. Whether the silver-and-black want to shoot for this on Saturday or wait until later in the week remains to be seen. Quick, though, is 3-1-0 against the Panthers overall and neither goaltender has played against them this season with the since-departed Ben Scrivens manning the net back in October.
While their streak was snapped on Thursday against Washington, the Kings scored power play goals in their previous three outings which may not bode well for a Florida team that sits last overall in penalty-killing.
They won on Thursday and now the Los Angeles Kings hope to create a new winning streak on Saturday afternoon. We’ll see if they can do just that.
Enjoy the game!