LOS ANGELES (AP) — Aleksander Barkov scored the go-ahead goal 15 seconds into the third period, Roberto Luongo made 33 saves and the Florida Panthers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win.
Jussi Jokinen and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for the Panthers, who have won seven of eight. Florida is tied with Boston for third in the Atlantic Division and leads Toronto for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference by one point.
Tanner Pearson and Dwight King each scored and Peter Budaj made 22 saves for the Kings, who remain one point behind Calgary for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
Jokinen’s goal put the Panthers ahead 2-0 1:14 into the second, but the Kings roared back to tie it in the same period. To start the third, Barkov raced ahead of three Kings and put a backhand shot past Budaj, reclaiming momentum and the lead.
King scored 5:39 into the second. Luongo couldn’t handle his shot with Kings center Nick Shore and Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic crashing the crease, and Florida interim coach Tom Rowe challenged unsuccessfully for interference.
Pearson then got Luongo moving to his left with some clever puck handling, exploiting the subsequent gap between the goalie’s legs to score his 19th of the season.
The first period turned on a delayed penalty against Los Angeles’ Marian Gaborik. The Kings had held the puck in the offensive zone for nearly a minute before losing it, prompting Gaborik to reach out his stick and trip a Panther in a fruitless attempt to get it back.
Huberdeau then beat Budaj with a wrist shot in the 6-on-5 action, notching his fourth goal of the season in his sixth game, after the Panthers were able to steady themselves by getting Luongo off and bringing on an extra attacker.
NOTES: Vincent Trocheck had an assist for the fifth straight game, giving him seven points in that span. Jaromir Jagr also extended his points streak to five games with an assist on Barkov’s goal. … The Kings fell to 9-20-2 this season when giving up the first goal. … Budaj has now given up 19 goals in his last five starts.
Panthers: Visit St. Louis on Monday night.
Kings: Visit Anaheim on Sunday night.