Los Angeles Kings vs. Florida Panthers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 27th 2023

Stadium: BB&T Center Sunrise
Logo Los Angeles Kings
Logo Florida Panthers

6.5o -125
-1.5 +179



The Florida Panthers, who are getting noteworthy performances from Brandon Montour, Carter Verhaeghe and Matthew Tkachuk, host the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla.

Although Florida has lost its past two games, the Panthers are 7-3-2 since Jan. 3 -- a hopeful sign for a franchise that struggled through the first half of the season.

"We're a much (better) hockey team than we were a month ago," Panthers coach Paul Maurice said.

Indeed, since Jan. 1, the Panthers have converted on 41.5 percent of their power-play chances, ranking No. 1 in the NHL during that span.

One key is Montour, whose seven-game points streak is tied with Keith Yandle (2018-19) and MacKenzie Weegar (2020-21) for the longest in franchise history by a defenseman.

Montour has already eclipsed his career high with 41 points (eight goals, 33 assists), eighth among NHL blueliners through Wednesday's action.

Tkachuk ranks eighth in the NHL in scoring with 62 points, and Verhaeghe has a career-high 25 goals.

Verhaeghe has six power-play goals this season. In his three previous NHL seasons -- totaling 173 games -- Verhaeghe had just two goals with the man advantage.

"I'm trying to shoot more," Verhaeghe said, "and I'm playing with great players."

On the defensive side of the Panthers' ledger, it will be interesting to see which goalie gets the start. Due to injuries to Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight, Alex Lyon was recalled from the minors.

Lyon has played in four consecutive games, and the Panthers are 2-1-1 in those contests. Yet, Lyon was burned in Tuesday's 7-6 overtime loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In those four games, Lyon has a 4.30 goals-against average.

Meanwhile, the Kings arrive in South Florida on a two-game win streak. They are 2-1-0 on a tough road trip that still includes games against the Panthers, who had the best record in the NHL's regular season in 2021-22; the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have won two Stanley Cup titles in the past three years; and the Carolina Hurricanes, who lead the Metropolitan Division.

The Kings are supposed to be rebuilding, but they entered Thursday in playoff position thanks in large part to Pheonix Copley, their suddenly hot goalie from the North Pole in Alaska.

Copley, 31, played just two NHL games in the past three seasons. This year, though, he is 14-3-0 with a 2.80 GAA. He has started the Kings' past four games, taking the top job away from Jonathan Quick, the team's aging star.

Quick, 37, is a three-time All-Star and a two-time Stanley Cup champ. But he is just 8-11-4 with a 3.34 GAA this season. In fact, he is on pace for the second-worst GAA of his career.

Copley made 28 saves in the Kings' most recent victory, a 4-3 overtime decision at Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"He bailed us out," Kings captain Anze Kopitar said of Copley's performance against the Flyers.

Copley, in a nod to his North Pole roots, has images of candy canes on his mask.

Offensively, the Kings are led by Adrian Kempe's 19 goals. Kevin Fiala, who had the overtime goal to beat the Flyers, tops Los Angeles with 34 assists and 51 points.

--Field Level Media

Los Angeles Kings
Florida Panthers

Los Angeles Kings vs. Florida Panthers

Emergency call-up Sam Montembeault came off the bench in the first period and recorded 23 saves, backstopping the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night in Sunrise, Fla.

With top goalie Sergei Bobrovsky out for his second straight game due to an upper-body injury, backup Chris Driedger got the nod and stopped all four shots he faced before leaving with an injury in the first period.

Driedger overextended himself on a kick save and left at 10:05. He was replaced by Montembeault, who was recalled twice this week from AHL Springfield.

A third-round selection in the 2015 draft, Montembeault held the Kings off the board until Alex Iafallo's deflection at 11:42 of the third period cut the Panthers' lead to 4-1. The visitors wound up scoring three times in 5:38.

Evgenii Dadonov reached the 20-goal plateau, and Frank Vatrano, Mike Matheson and Brian Boyle also tallied for the Panthers, who won for the seventh time in 10 games and ended their January home schedule with a 3-1-0 mark.

Anze Kopitar tallied and assisted on two goals, Adrian Kempe and Alex Iafallo also scored, and Jack Campbell made 22 saves for the Kings, who are 1-5-1 in their last seven.

Florida took advantage of Los Angeles' 27th-ranked penalty kill on the game's first power play. The Panthers cycled the puck with full possession for 39 seconds before Dadonov finished a pass into the slot by Jonathan Huberdeau at 6:04 for a 1-0 lead.

The tally pushed Dadonov to the 20-goal mark for the third time in his career. Aleksander Barkov, who got the secondary assist, broke a tie with Stephen Weiss for third on Florida's all-time points list (395), trailing just Huberdeau (421) and Olli Jokinen (419).

Dominic Toninato chased down a long pass early in the second period and zipped the puck back to a trailing Vatrano, who one-timed his 11th goal from the top of the right circle into the bottom right corner at 3:06.

Matheson blasted home his sixth goal from between the top of the right circle and the blue line two seconds before Florida's third power play expired at 4:55 of the third period.

Boyle grabbed a loose puck and buried his sixth at 7:06 for a 4-0 lead.

Kempe's power-play goal made it 4-2 at 15:08. Kopitar added another man-advantage marker with 2:40 left to cut it to 4-3, but Florida's defense shut down the Kings over the last two minutes.

--Field Level Media