SUNRISE (CBSMiami/AP) — The Florida Panthers have been playing some of their best hockey of the season in recent weeks, but it could be too little too late.
Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau was at the perfect place at just the right time against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Huberdeau dashed out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway to help lift the Panthers to a 6-1 win over the Kings, as Florida closed out a seven-game homestand.
With the game tied at 1-all in the second period, Huberdeau stepped out of the penalty box and collected an errant slap shot by Anze Kopitar that wrapped around the boards and skidded beyond defenseman Drew Doughty. Huberdeau then skated in on goalie Jonathan Quick and scored his 17th goal of the season at 13:33, giving the Panthers a lead they never relinquished.
“That was the difference, I thought, in the game,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “All of a sudden he gets out of the box and he gets a goal and it’s 2-1 and you see the bench automatically stand up a little bit.”
The Kings’ captain said he has to make a better play in that situation.
“The second goal, I’ll take full responsibility for that,” Kopitar said. “You’ve got to hit the net there, and the puck goes around the wall right to the guy, he’s got a breakaway and he scores. That’s really a momentum-changer.”
With Florida set to begin a 5-on-3 power play, Boughner called a timeout because his players were “huffing and puffing,” and Aleksander Barkov and Keith Yandle responded with goals.
Barkov netted his 25th goal at 18:16 for a 3-1 lead. Yandle then pushed it to 4-1 when he scored the second power-play goal, his ninth, at 19:22, through plenty of traffic in front of Quick.
“We had a power play and a chance to get in front,” Los Angeles coach Willie Desjardins said. “They got a break coming out of the box to make it 2-1. We were still there, and then they got the 5-on-3 and they got two off that.”
Vincent Trocheck, Jamie McGinn and Ian McCoshen also scored, and Barkov, Huberdeau and Yandle added assists for the Panthers, who have won four of five and are 10-5-0 in their last 15.
Florida’s Roberto Luongo stopped 18 shots and tied Ed Belfour for third place in career wins among goaltenders with 484.
“Listen, it’s nice obviously to get those recognitions, but at the end of the day I just want to get wins for our club and obviously make a push here and try to sneak in back in the playoffs,” Luongo said.
Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who dropped their seventh straight. Quick stopped 17 of 23 shots before being lifted in the third period. Jack Campbell made two saves in relief.
Trocheck skated into the left circle in the second period, took a pass from Evgenii Dadonov and scored his sixth goal, and first since Jan. 21 at 11:56 of the first.
Brown tied it at 1 when he stole a pass just outside the blue line, raced in on Luongo and scored his 13th goal at 13:59.
Brown, who ended a run of 12 games without a goal, nearly scored his second to give Los Angeles its first lead on a short-handed breakaway in the period’s last minute, but Luongo denied him.
McGinn and McCoshen scored their first goals of the season in the third period — McGinn at 6:14, McCoshen 28 seconds later — for the final margin.
NOTES: Brown’s goal was his first since Jan. 17. . Doughty skated in his franchise-record 389th consecutive game. . Florida concluded its seven-game homestand with a 4-3-0 mark. . The Panthers scratched C Derick Brassard ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. The club acquired the unrestricted free agent Brassard and C Riley Sheahan (also a UFA) plus three 2019 picks from Pittsburgh on Feb. 1. . Barkov’s fourth consecutive multi-point game is the longest such streak of his career. . McGinn skated in his 600th NHL game.
Kings: At Tampa Bay on Monday.
Panthers: At Colorado on Monday.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)