Considering that the Kings have already suffered losses of 4-1 and 7-0 on this road trip, it’s actually somewhat remarkable that they would end it with a 3-2 record if they beat Florida tomorrow.
The Panthers are an up-and-down team. They’re coming off consecutive shootout victories, over Boston (1-0) and the Islanders (5-4). Goalie Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 40 shots last night, but before that he had shutouts in three of his previous four starts. Vokoun has a .922 save percentage and a 2.81 goals-against average this season.
The Kings and Panthers haven’t played each other much in recent seasons, but the Kings have won four consecutive games against the Panthers and haven’t lost in Florida’s barn since Oct. 26, 2001. Here’s what Terry Murray said today about trying to finish the road trip on a high note.
MURRAY: “We just briefly touched on that at the end of the practice today. When I pulled them together at the end of the last drill, I said, `Take the rest of the day and enjoy the sun, get a good meal and get re-energized and finish this trip off with a nice victory.’ The message we had in the meeting yesterday, in Tampa Bay, was about our opportunity (against Atlanta) to build off a pretty good game vs. Carolina, and we did not do that. With the win last night, I thought the effort was tremendous. The heavy play at both ends, the forecheck, we got in and got the puck stopped in our D zone, we really battled hard and competed, and that’s the kind of stuff we need to build on.
“We want that same kind of identity to our game, each game. When you play that way, your attitude is five times more important than your skill. That’s the dig-in attitude, and that’s how you become a successful franchise in this league, with that kind of commitment and battle for each other.”