Preview: Los Angeles at Florida
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, February 9, 2012
Where: BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida
THE STORY: The Los Angeles Kings will continue their six-game road trip when they face off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Los Angeles is just 1-2-0 on its trek but has won three of its last five games. The Kings have owned the Panthers of late, winning seven straight overall meetings and three in a row in Florida. The Panthers, who haven’t beaten Los Angeles at home since Oct. 26, 2001, are 2-0-2 in their last four at the Bank Atlantic Center. However, they have lost nine of 13 overall.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN (Florida)
ABOUT THE KINGS (26-18-10): Mike Richards appeared to be as good as ever in his return from a concussion in December, scoring a goal in each of his first two games back. But the center has tallied just once in 19 contests since. Richards insists health has nothing to do with his struggles. “I feel good out there,” he said. “That’s what is frustrating. When you’re feeling good on the ice, you think that good things should come from it. It’s frustrating when you work so hard and get nothing from it.” Despite ranking just 21st in the league on the power play, Los Angeles has excelled with the extra man of late, going 10 for 37 over its last 12 games.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (24-17-11): Florida fell significantly in the Eastern Conference standings when it lost to Washington on Tuesday. The Capitals moved one point ahead of the Panthers for first place in the Southeast Division and third in the conference. Florida dropped from third to ninth, two points behind Ottawa for the final playoff spot. Jose Theodore could return from his knee injury Thursday. The goaltender has not played since Jan. 20 and has made only two starts since Dec. 31. Marco Sturm is expected to miss another month after undergoing knee surgery Monday. Sturm played in his first game since Dec. 20 last Wednesday against Washington but hurt his knee in that contest.