Huberdeau, Panthers edge Kings, gain in wild-card race

LOS ANGELESJonathan Huberdeau scored with 1:56 remaining to help the Florida Panthers to their fourth straight win, 4-3 against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday.

Sam Montembeault made 24 saves for his fourth consecutive win for the Panthers (32-27-12), who are eight points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

 

[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Kings highlights]

 

“All in all, you’ve got to be happy with the effort and the composure at the end of the game, and just seeing how we won and how the guys battled together,” Florida coach Bob Boughner said. “We’re not dead yet, and we can make things interesting. We’ve just got to keep on winning, and tomorrow is another big day for us.”

Video: FLA@LAK: Dadonov beats Quick from the doorstep

Aleksander Barkov had three assists to set an NHL career high of 81 points (30 goals, 51 assists). He had 78 points last season.

Jeff Carter had an assist for his 700th NHL point for the Kings (25-38-8), who are 2-11-4 in their past 17 games. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves.

“I thought at times we were really good and at times we weren’t,” Carter said. “You’ve got to lock them down. It’s something that we have been talking about all year.”

Huberdeau made it 4-3 when his shot trickled under Quick. A review confirmed the puck crossed the line, and the Kings challenged for goalie interference with the call on the ice upheld.

Video: FLA@LAK: Hoffman hammers home one-timer for PPG

Evgenii Dadonov scored from the slot on a drop pass from Huberdeau at 13:47 of the third period to tie it 3-3. Kopitar put the Kings ahead 3-2 at 9:44.

“Even when we were down with seven (minutes) to go, we didn’t change much up,” Boughner said. “Just kept playing our game and found a way to get hungry around the net and get a bounce, and that’s what it is all about this time of year. It’s a battle, it’s a grind, and it comes down to all the little details.”

Brendan Leipsic scored for the Kings to tie it 2-2 at 1:05 of the third. Carter had the primary assist, giving him 362 goals and 338 assists in 969 NHL games. The Panthers challenged for goalie interference, but the call on the ice was upheld.

Dadonov put Florida in front 2-1 at 4:04 of the second period, scoring from the edge of the crease on a rebound of Barkov’s shot. Dadonov had not scored in his previous nine games, his longest drought this season.

Video: FLA@LAK: Brown chips home backhand on break for PPG

“He’s been playing really, really well all the time,” Huberdeau said. “Just (the) puck hasn’t been finding the way in, and this time he scored two crucial goals for us to win the game.”

Mike Hoffman gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 4:10 of the first period when he scored a power-play goal on a one-timer from the right circle. It was Hoffman’s fifth point (three goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak.

Brown tied it 1-1 at 7:35 of the first with his 93rd NHL power-play goal, passing Rob Blake for fifth in Kings history.

 

They said it

“I’m feeling great when I’m playing. The guys let me see the puck real well, too, so it’s just easier. I’m always nervous at the (beginning of the) game, but I got a few shots and got comfortable.” — Panthers goalie Sam Montembeault

“It’s the same story every game here. Get a lead, give a lead up. We let him hang out to dry again. So we can sit here and talk about it, but we’ve been talking about it for a while now.” — Kings center Jeff Carter on goalie Jonathan Quick

 

Need to know

Barkov has a five-game point streak (two goals, nine assists). The center is the third Panthers player with at least 80 points in a season. Forward Pavel Bure had 94 points in 1999-2000 and 92 in 2000-01, and forward Olli Jokinen had 89 in 2005-06 and 91 in 2006-07. … Kopitar reached 20 goals for the 10th time in 13 NHL seasons. He also got his 30th assist and has had at least 30 in every season of his NHL career. … Hoffman is the first player to score at least 33 goals in his first season with the Panthers.

Video: FLA@LAK: Kopitar pots Brown’s dish to take the lead

 

What’s next

Panthers: At the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-F)

Kings: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, TSN3)

Video: Huberdeau, Dadonov lead Panthers past Kings, 4-3

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