LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist, Anze Kopitar scored on the power play and the Los Angeles Kings halted the Florida Panthers’ five-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.
Cam Talbot made 30 saves, and the Kings won in their own building for the second time in eight games.
“It’s no secret that we need to make this building a little tougher to play in, and I think tonight’s a good step in the right direction,” Talbot said.
Sam Reinhart scored for the third straight game, Sergei Bobrovsky allowed two goals on 26 shots, and the explosive Panthers were held to their lowest-scoring output since being shut out at Minnesota in their season opener on Oct. 12.
“I thought we were a little slow,” coach Paul Maurice said. “I would expect them to be quick, they were sitting on four days’ rest. But I thought we just didn’t move the puck the way we wanted to.”
Fiala, whose offensive production has been offset by his inconsistent puck-handling and mistakes on defense, beat Bobrovsky with a backhand off the rush 1:20 into the game.
Fiala kept up the positive play by feeding Kopitar for a one-timer on the power play and a 2-0 lead midway through the second period.
It was 13th assist and 16th point through 15 games for Fiala.
“Tonight, you saw the energy and the drive and the battle and the commitment,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “If we get that all the time, we got one hell of a player. And it’s there. He’s been a little bit frustrated and we’re trying to help him, but I was proud of him tonight. He made some real good plays and responded well.”
Even more impressive was the defensive effort by the Kings in shutting down the Panthers, who had scored at least four goals in every game during their win streak.
“It wasn’t going for us all night,” Reinhart said. “I think we were trying to do a little too much, and give them credit, they kind of bring that out of you.”
Florida struggled to generate truly dangerous chances, with most of its shots coming from the outside and easily turned away by Talbot.
Reinhart eventually broke through with his 13th goal on a wobbly shot from the slot that beat Talbot with 9:45 remaining in the third period.
“We were able to stick with it and kind of get ourselves back to have a fighting chance,” Reinhart said. “You give them credit that they’re a team when they have the lead, it’s not easy to come back on them.”
Kings center Pierre-Luc Dubois sustained an apparent lower-body injury when he lost his footing on a breakaway and crashed into the post late in the third. He went straight back to the dressing room and did not return.
McLellan said Dubois was being evaluated and the team would have a better sense of how serious the injury might be on Friday.
The Panthers did not have defenseman Josh Mahura for the second half of the game because of a lower-body injury, but Maurice did not believe it was significant.
Fortunately for Florida, defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour could each make their season debut against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Ekblad and Montour both underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason.
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