Florida Panthers

Poor second period puts Panthers in too big of a hole against the Los Angeles Kings

The Panthers’ Jimmy Hayes beats goalie Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty at Staples Center on Nov. 18, 2014 in Los Angeles. The Kings won 5-2.
The Panthers’ Jimmy Hayes beats goalie Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty at Staples Center on Nov. 18, 2014 in Los Angeles. The Kings won 5-2. Getty Images

The Panthers played two pretty good periods in Los Angeles on Tuesday night but one ugly one did them in.

The Kings cashed in on two power plays and scored four times in the second to top Florida 5-2.

Florida had scored 17 goals in its previous four games but didn’t get on the board Tuesday until Jimmy Hayes jumped on a rebound from a Jonathan Huberdeau shot and put the puck past Jonathan Quick two minutes into the third period.

Hayes’ goal made it a 4-1 game.

“We really played well in the first period and obviously the second period was the difference in this game,” coach Gerard Gallant told reporters afterward.

“We came out, we were flat and they were really coming at us. We just didn’t respond until we got upset in the third period and we started to play a better game.”

After a scoreless first, the Kings took a 1-0 lead on a Matt Greene goal 4:32 into the second.

Florida’s Vinny Trocheck then took a four-minute penalty for high sticking, and the Kings quickly added their second goal.

Los Angeles scored four in the second — including one from Robyn Regehr with eight seconds left — to pretty much end things for the Panthers.

Florida battled back in the third thanks to goals from Hayes and Jussi Jokinen in the first seven minutes, but the Panthers couldn’t get anything else past Quick (30 saves).

The Kings iced the game on Dustin Brown’s power-play goal past Al Montoya — who replaced Roberto Luongo to start the third — with 3:11 left.

“They got three power-play goals and that makes it tough,” Gallant said. “They’re a good team. We played 40 minutes as good as you can play against them, but in that second period, we got totally dominated.”


Rookie Rocco Grimaldi was asked to play in a rare double-header Tuesday. Grimaldi started the day playing in San Antonio’s matinee against Oklahoma City.

Grimaldi was pulled in the second period and told to get going because the Panthers needed him in Los Angeles.

“All the years of playing roller hockey and being on two teams and playing two tournaments a day really helped,” Grimaldi told reporters afterward.

With Aleksander Barkov ill and Florida’s other recovering forwards not yet ready, Grimaldi was one of the Panthers’ few options.

“This is one of the ones on the calendar that I really wanted to play and I obviously didn’t expect it coming into this morning,” said Grimaldi, who grew up just south of Los Angeles in Orange County.

“I was just getting ready for OKC and then I get pulled off after the second period and told I was coming home. So I’m excited and glad to see family and friends coming out.”

After Tuesday’s game — Grimaldi played 16 shifts for 10:36 against the Kings — he told reporters that after he was pulled from the Rampage’s game, he raced home to pack a bag.

Although his flight to Los Angeles was slightly delayed, there was typical L.A. traffic from the airport to Staples Center, he made it in plenty of time.

“It was different, I had to rush out of the rink,” said Grimaldi, who arrived at the arena about 90 minutes before the start of the game.

“The flight was delayed about half an hour, and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it here. Then I got stuck in L.A. traffic, which I’m pretty used to.”

▪ Defenseman Willie Mitchell received his 2014 Stanley Cup championship ring before Tuesday’s game.

Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter and Brown, the team captain, presented Mitchell with his ring and he was honored with a short video montage during the first period.

Mitchell told Fox Sports Florida during the first intermission he was happy just to get everything over with.

“It’s better now that it’s out of the way,” Mitchell said. “As much as you prepare and get the nerves out, you’re seeing old friends. Getting the ring was like unfinished business. It was a real cool moment. You try to enjoy it but also prepare the best you can for the game to help your teammates.”

▪ Hayes continues to put up points for the Panthers as his goal Tuesday was his fourth in the past five games. In the past four games, Hayes has four goals and two assists.

“He scores a lot of goals in the blue paint,” Gallant said. “You have to pay a price to get there.”

Thursday: Panthers at Sharks

When/where: 10:30 p.m.; SAP Center, San Jose, California.

TV/radio: FSNF; WQAM 560.

The series: Tied 10-10-7.

Of note: This is the second meeting between the two teams in just over a week. Florida topped the visiting Sharks 4-1 last Tuesday with goals from Jimmy Hayes, Aleksander Barkov, Derek MacKenzie and Tomas Fleischmann.

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