Kings-Panthers Preview

BY foxsports • November 22, 2015

The Los Angeles Kings are second in the Pacific Division but back-to-back defeats have them concerned.

Concluding their season series with the Florida Panthers should quell any worries for now.

The Kings look to avoid matching their longest slide of the season by continuing their dominance of the struggling Panthers on Monday night.

Los Angeles (12-8-0) missed the playoffs last season and opened this one with three straight defeats before winning 12 of its next 15. However, the Kings followed that with a 3-2 loss at Detroit on Friday before giving up the first three goals in a 4-3 defeat at Carolina two days later.

"I think there's a lot of unhappy players, quite honestly," said captain Dustin Brown, who scored his second goal of the season on a penalty shot Sunday. "A lot of us were here last year when we let it slide, and as a result we're not playing at the end of the year. We have an opportunity to right the ship (Monday) night and that should be our focus."

Los Angeles has won 11 of the past 13 matchups with Florida (8-8-4), outshooting the Panthers 35-19 in a 4-1 victory Nov. 7.

Anze Kopitar had a goal in that matchup, giving him 11 points in 11 career meetings. The center's two goals Sunday were his first in five games since last facing Florida.

The Kings haven't determined if Jonathan Quick or Jhonas Enroth will start in net. Quick has lost four of his last seven starts with a 3.00 goals-against average and was pulled after giving up four goals on 17 shots through two periods Sunday.

Enroth made all eight saves the rest of the way, and he's 3-1-0 with a 1.17 GAA and one shutout in five games - four starts. He's also 3-1-1 with a 1.30 GAA in five games against the Panthers, but Quick is 6-2-0 with a 1.81 GAA.

The Panthers have lost eight of their last 11 games (3-5-3), giving up an average of 3.09 goals after yielding 2.00 during the first nine contests.

They fell 5-4 in overtime to the New York Rangers on Saturday after Reilly Smith missed a penalty shot with 1:42 left in regulation. Despite the defeat, Florida was resilient in scoring twice in a span of 39 seconds in the third period after coach Gerard Gallant pulled Roberto Luongo for an extra attacker.

"There was no quit," Gallant said. "I was really proud of our guys because we played one of the fastest teams in the league and we kept up with them and we probably pushed the pace more than they did."

Jaromir Jagr scored the goal that forced OT on Saturday. The right wing leads the team with eight goals and 16 points, but his next tally will tie him with former King Marcel Dionne for fourth all-time at 731.

Jagr has one goal in his last four meetings with Los Angeles and failed to register a shot Nov. 7.

Nick Bjugstad has a goal in each of the last two matchups. The center netted his seventh of the season and second in four games Saturday.

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