The Florida Panthers moved into a playoff position with their 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
The victory was Florida's fourth straight, and all four wins have come on the road. Including this win, the Panthers won three in a row against teams based in California. The trip is often seen as a challenging and taxing one for teams, but Florida looked energized and determined.
The Panthers would be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season, if the campaign ended today. While Florida just would sneak in at this stage, it is still a very positive sign for a club that struggled in the early going. The Panthers were one of the league's most inconsistent teams for much of the first half, and even changed coaches along the way.
Jonathan Huberdeau's goal late in the first period gave Florida a 1-0 lead. Assisting on Huberdeau's fourth goal of the season were Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck. This would turn out to just be the first highlight of Barkov's evening.
Early in the second period, Jussi Jokinen made it a 2-0 game with his ninth goal of the season. Reilly Smith and Alex Petrovic were both credited with assists on the score.
Los Angeles would score the next two goals, but Florida took the lead back right after the third period got underway. Barkov found the back of the net at the 15-second mark of the period. It was the 14th goal of the year for Barkov and it came with assists from Jaromir Jagr and Aaron Ekblad.
After sitting out the first game of a back-to-back, Roberto Luongo was back in the net for this one. Luongo ended up with 33 saves in his 35 opportunities.
Florida's road trip will conclude on Monday when it travels to St. Louis to take on the Blues.