Skidding Kings aim to snap Panthers’ winning streak

Skidding Kings aim to snap Panthers’ winning streak

There is no hotter team in the NHL than the Florida Panthers, who have won eight straight games.It's the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.Meanwhile, not yet halfway through the seas

There is no hotter team in the NHL than the Florida Panthers, who have won eight straight games.It’s the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.Meanwhile, not yet halfway through the season, the Los Angeles Kings — who are set to visit the Panthers Thursday in Sunrise, Fla. — have already experienced record highs and deflating lows.On Dec. 7, the Kings set an NHL record with their 11th consecutive road win to start a season.Yet, just a little over one month later, the Kings are mired in a six-game losing streak that is their longest skid since they had an identical string of losses in October 2021.”We’ll figure a way out,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said of the losing streak that includes Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime defeat at the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I don’t think our confidence is just lost. You play yourself into confidence.”The Kings, who haven’t won a playoff series since 2014, are led by goalie Cam Talbot, who has been named an All-Star for the second time in his career.Talbot is 14-9-4 despite four straight losses. His goals-against average is 2.20.Talbot, 36, is one of three key Kings older veterans, a group that includes captain Anze Kopitar, 36, and 34-year-old defenseman Drew Doughty.Kopitar and Doughty are both first-round picks who have spent their entire careers with the Kings – a combined 34 years in the NHL.Both have won a pair of Stanley Cup titles. Both are five-time All-Stars.Kopitar is still relevant with 14 goals and 22 assists in 37 games. He has twice won the Selke award as the NHL’s top defensive forward.Doughty leads Kings skaters in average ice time – by a wide margin – and he is still considered a shut-down defender. He won the Norris Trophy in 2016 as the NHL’s top defenseman.The Panthers, who beat the host St. Louis Blues 5-1 on Tuesday, are expected to start goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (20-9-1, 2.45 GAA) on Thursday.

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