SUNRISE, Fla. – Jack Johnson couldn’t quite finish his end-to-end rush in overtime. The Los Angeles Kings defenceman didn’t miss his chance in the shootout.
Johnson scored the only goal in the shootout, rallying the Kings to a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday night. “I just wanted to make sure we got the two points,” Johnson said. “In that situation, it’s you against him (the goalie) and you want to make it count.”
Johnson’s rush in the final 10 seconds of overtime was the best scoring chance for either team in the extra period. He lost control of the puck after beating defenceman Jordan Leopold and skating in alone on Tomas Vokoun.
In the shootout, he scored after Anze Kopitar shot wide on Los Angeles’ first shootout attempt. Johnson beat Vokoun after a deke to his forehand.
“I definitely wanted to help the team win in any way I could, whether it was in the overtime or the shootout,” Johnson said. “I’m glad it worked out for us.”
Jonathan Quick stopped Rostislav Olesz and Steven Reinprecht before clinching the victory with a stick save on Cory Stillman’s backhand off a deke.
Los Angeles improved to 2-2 in shootouts, while Florida dropped to 4-2. Both teams had won their previous game in a shootout Florida at home against the Islanders, 5-4, and Los Angeles at Tampa Bay, 2-1.
“It could go either way (in the shootout),” Quick said. “You just try to make the stops and let the rest take care of itself.”
Johnson and Jarret Stoll scored power-play goals, and Randy Jones scored short-handed for the Kings, who came back from a 2-0 deficit and closed out a five-game road trip at 3-2.
Quick finished with 26 saves for Los Angeles, which beat Florida for the fifth straight time.
Nathan Horton, Stillman and Victor Oreskovich scored for the Panthers. Vokoun, who came in with three shutouts in his previous five starts, stopped 31 shots.
“Obviously, shootouts are a lottery,” Vokoun said. “They’re fun to win, but they’re not so much fun to lose. We came out on the short side today, but this game should have been won in regulation.”
Los Angeles scored three consecutive times before Oreskovich tied the game at 3 at 14:55 with his first NHL goal. Bryan Allen’s shot from the point went off someone in front of the net and floated to the side. Oreskovich put the puck down and put it into the open net.
“It hopped up there and I grabbed with my hand and had the whole empty net there,” said Oreskovich, a rookie playing in his seventh NHL game. “It’s great to get my first goal there, but if I would have missed that, it would have been pretty bad.
“It’s pretty exciting. The timing made it a little sweeter, I guess, but it’s unfortunate we didn’t get the two points. … Getting one is better than nothing.”
Jones had given the Kings a 3-2 lead at 7:58 of the third. With teammate Alexander Frolov in the penalty box for goaltender interference, Jones scored off a rebound when Vokoun couldn’t control Michal Handzus’ high slap shot.
Johnson began the Kings’ comeback at 9:10 of the second with a slap shot from just inside the blue-line.
Stoll tied the game 2-2 at 2:23 of the third period with a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that deflected off Leopold. Stoll scored off a feed from Kopitar, who came into the game as the NHL’s scoring leader with 31 points.
“Last year, we might have packed it in after being down 2-0,” Quick said, “but this year we have shown a lot of character.”
Horton opened the scoring at 2:05 of the second with a power-play goal. He beat Quick over his right shoulder with a wrist from the wing.
Stillman scored 1:35 later on a 2-on-1 set up by a beautiful pass from Dennis Seidenberg from deep inside the Florida zone to Steven Reinprecht just inside the Kings blue-line. Reinprecht then fed Stillman for a one-timer tip-in.
“I think the deciding factor for me was in the second period when we had two or three opportunities to extend the lead to three and put them away,” said Florida coach Pete DeBoer. “We didn’t do that. That’s why we only ended up with a point.”
NOTES: Kings LW Ryan Smyth sustained an upper-body injury in the third period and did not return. He will evaluated on Tuesday. … Kings D Rob Scuderi missed the game because of a lower-leg injury sustained in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout victory at Tampa Bay. … Kings coach Terry Murray coached the Panthers for two-plus seasons, starting in 1998. … Florida missed a chance to tie its longest winning streak of the season. … The Panthers haven’t beaten the Kings since Oct. 26, 2001.