“That's easy,'' Scuderi said, sweat pouring off his face as he fought to catch his breath. “Jonathan Quick.''
Quick was the difference as the Kings held off a hard-skating Panthers team 2-1 at Staples Center. Quick made 41 saves in the game, his only blemish coming when Sean Bergenheim slapped at a loose puck as he was falling backward in the slot. The Kings held a 2-0 lead prior to that, but Bergenheim's goal was all the Panthers would get.
“We thoroughly outplayed them and they were trying to run around and hack us and slash us,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. “You know, when you are getting outplayed as badly as they were, that's the response. What are you going to do?
"We feel very good about the way we played and we move forward from there. There were plenty of opportunities. Their goalie certainly got them a couple of points. [Jose Theodore] gave us every chance to win.''
Thursday's game had plenty of physical moments as Bergenheim knocked Mike Richards out of the game with a hit in the second period, one that led to a pair of penalties against the former Philadelphia captain as well as penalties against Bergenheim and Jarret Stoll.
Richards, who infamously crushed then-Panthers winger David Booth with an open ice hit in 2009, left the game with an undisclosed 'upper body injury.'
Florida had a four-minute power play (the Kings could have taken two minutes of 5-on-3 play instead) but failed to convert. The Kings were called for eight infractions during the opening 40 minutes but none in the final 20.
Regardless, the Panthers – who threw up 29 shots at Quick in the final two periods and had 17 missed in the game – couldn't get anything past the Los Angeles goalie. Florida went 0-for-6 on the power play as Kris Versteeg missed his first game of the season after breaking his nose on Tuesday.
The Panthers say Versteeg should return Saturday against San Jose.
Tomas Kopecky riled up the Kings on Thursday as he camped in front of the net and made a pest of himself.
At one point late in the third, Quick had to be pulled away from Kopecky behind the net. When asked if the former Blackhawks forward had any real past with the Kings, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon quipped, ''nah, he annoys a lot of teams. They all hate playing against him.''
Los Angeles opened the scoring on a shot from Jack Johnson 1:35 in on the second shot of the night against Jose Theodore (24 saves). The Kings made it 2-0 with 5:47 left in the second when Dustin Brown scored on a similar shot from outside the circle. Just over a minute later, Bergenheim cut the Florida deficit in half, but that's where the scoring ended.
“He made big saves all night and we just didn't have an answer,'' said Stephen Weiss, who had five of Florida's shots. “We'll regroup and hopefully have the same effort against San Jose, just get some bounces. We had great chances all night. They just weren't going in.
"The other night in Carolina we didn't have our best game by any means, but we got a bounce and won the game. Those things happen. We got a lot of positive out of tonight that's for sure.''