Kings Fall to Florida, 3-1

Jonathan Quick was pulled after allowing two goals on eleven shots Thursday night. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Thursday night in Sunrise, Florida the Los Angeles Kings couldn’t have possibly looked more like themselves. (An explanation? Ok.)

It was an offensively challenged contest from start to finish with neither the Panthers or visiting Kings being able to generate more than a few scoring chances. The Kings recorded only twenty-three shots over the course of the game, twelve of which came in the first period. That first frame also handed Los Angeles two power plays, neither of which amounted to much offensive production.

Florida’s Sean Bergenheim rifled a shot past the outstretched glove of starting goalie Jonathan Quick to open the scoring at 4:52 into the second period. Mike Santorelli added a goal of his own a little more than ten minutes later; another hard, quick shot that, to no fault of the Los Angeles goalie himself, found its way to the back of the net.

After the second intermission with the Kings on their heels and reeling in every sense of the word, Darryl Sutter tried something he hadn’t attempted at any point during his tenure. He yanked Quick and replaced him with talented, yet underworked backup Jonathan Bernier.

Coming into the game, Quick had amassed twenty-three wins and one of the league’s best goals against average in forty-six starts. For comparison, Bernier had only played in eleven of his team’s games, being handed a loss in six of those starts. Bernier has certainly showed some prowess when given the opportunity to start, but for Sutter to bring him in cold for the third period of play when down only two goals…it remains a head-scratcher for Kings faithful.

Captain Dustin Brown stated after the game that Quick’s relief was not a result of poor play. “It was sending a message to everyone else,” said Brown.

However, Bernier didn’t allow a single goal on the twelve shots he faced, and can Sutter really be blamed for trying something new to jumpstart his woefully underperforming team?

Florida went on to win the contest handily 3-1, despite a last minute goal by Drew Doughty, who seemingly needs the clock ticking down to its final seconds to score any of his goals. He now has five on the season, a career high, yet nonetheless somewhat low given his high-profile contract given last October.  

The last Panthers goal came on an open net, after a muffed attempt at an offensive rush for the Kings.

Their season high six game road trip has yielded anything but positive results. The team has now lost six of their last ten games without much to look forward to in the coming days. Their trip wraps up this weekend with a visit to Long Island, New York on Saturday and Dallas on Sunday.