After a really strong start, the Los Angeles Kings had to hold on for dear life to escape with a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.
The Kings came out hot and controlled play for the first half of the period. But, at around the 10-minute mark, the Panthers came back with their own push.
The Kings held strong though and broke through with an Anze Kopitar goal. It was a similar goal to his second one against the Philadelphia Flyers last game. This time, Adrian Kempe entered the zone and held off a defender before making an area pass to Quinton Byfield. Byfield then fed the puck into the slot for Kopitar, whose backhander beat Alex Lyon.
With a little under five minutes left in the period, the Kings went onto their first penalty kill of the season, a scary sight against a Panthers power play that's led the league since Christmas. However, Blake Lizotte forced a turnover at the blue line, sending Kempe and Lizotte on a two-on-one. Lizotte fed Kempe, who beat Lyon over the shoulder to put the Kings up 2-0.
Tobias Bjornfot took a penalty with 19:26 left, but the Kings were able to keep Florida off the board through the first period. Leaving them on the penalty kill to start the second.
The Kings killed off Bjornfot's penalty to start the period and continued their strong play.
Just under eight minutes into the period the game took a surprising turn.
On the forecheck, Alex Turcotte got his stick into Gustav Forsling's skates, causing Forsling to crash into the boards awkwardly. It also drew a crowd of Panthers to Turcotte.
After a video review, the refs decided Turcotte would be assessed a five-minute major for boarding. While Aaron Ekblad was given a two-minute roughing penalty. A call that confused many Kings' fans and the Kings' broadcast.
On the ensuing four-on-four, the Kings scored just one second after starting their penalty kill, giving them their second shorthanded goal of the game.
They then killed off the major penalty, holding their 3-0 lead.
Florida was given life 13:23 into the period. After Pheonix Copley misplayed the puck behind the net, eventually giving Ryan Lomberg a chance in front that he buried.
The Panthers then made it a one-goal game three minutes later, after Brandon Montour was given all day to step in and wire a slap shot past Copley.
The Kings were able to head into the break up 3-2, just barely limping into the break.
The Kings continued limping in the third period, with the Panthers caving them in from the start.
The Kings put themselves into a tough spot with a penalty just over halfway through. A penalty that came after a long shift in the defensive zone. They were able to get the big kill though, proving the importance of timely penalty killing once again.
The push didn't stop there from Florida though, as they continued to pile it on.
With the net empty, Matt Roy sent the puck almost the full 200 feet into the yawning cage. Giving the Kings a much-needed insurance goal.
Florida made the game interesting though, with Carter Verhaeghe bringing it back within one at 19:26 of the third.
The Kings were able to hold on though, beating the Panthers 4-3.