Martinez scores on the right net; Kings prevail 3-1


Jonathan Quick rebounded from a poor performance and Alec Martinez scored for the right team this time in a go-ahead goal as the Los Angeles Kings prevailed to snap a two-game losing streak with a 3-1 defeat of the Florida Panthers on Monday evening at BB&T Arena in Sunrise.

Facing criticism last week for sluggish starts, the Kings made a statement in the first period, outshooting their adversaries 18-4.

7:47 into the opening period, Milan Lucic picked up the puck from Jeff Carter and wrapped it around the net before finding Tyler Toffoli for a bullet wrister to put the Kings up 1-0.

Nov 23, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73) celebrates his goal with defenseman Drew Doughty (8) and defenseman Brayden McNabb (3) and left wing Milan Lucic (17) in the first period of a game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

However, the struggles of the Kings penalty kill continued in the second period. Following a hooking penalty that was assessed to Jake Muzzin, the Panthers went on the powerplay for the second time in the game.

20 seconds later, Aleksander Barkov notched his sixth goal of the season, assisted by Jaromir Jagr, and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Martinez had a rough Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He scored on his own goal, which turned out to be the deciding point as the Kings lost their second one-goal game in a row.

But Martinez had an opportunity to redeem himself and capitalized on it just like when he put the game-winning goal past a sprawling Henrik Lundqvist in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals to hand the Kings their second Stanley Cup in the last three seasons.

A shot by Kyle Clifford was blocked by Panthers captain Willie Mitchell, but it was Martinez who secured control of the loose puck and backhanded it in for what turned out to be the game-winning goal 17:16 into the second period.

Martinez had to laugh about Sunday.

“I’m just happy I put it in the right net this time,” said Martinez via LAKingsInsider.

Marion Gaborik added insurance with a breakaway goal 1:05 into the third period to make it 3-1 after Jagr’s pass was tipped away, and in the blink of an eye, Anze Kopitar fired a pass down the right side of the ice to Gaborik, who deked twice to get the wrist shot past Roberto Luongo.

Luongo was not initially scheduled to play until Al Montoya was injured at 11:22 of the first period when Kings’ Nick Shore was checked from behind, resulting in a collision.

As Montoya dove to cover a loose puck, he was struck by Shore.

The puck ended up trickling into the net, but after further review, it was ruled no goal by the officials in Toronto.

On Wednesday, the Kings (13-8) take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (10-9-3) in the final game of a five-game road trip before heading back to Staples Center for four games. The Lightning have won their last two games at home.

The Panthers (8-9-4) saw their losing streak extend to three games, having been outscored 11-6. They will have a four-day break before squaring off against the New York Islanders (10-8-3) next Friday.

Albeit the Islanders have come on the short end of the stick in their last two games, both of those games came against the red-hot Montreal Canadiens, who are currently in a three-way tie for the No. 1 spot in the entire league. There is no shame in that.