Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown, right, celebrates his goal as Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore looks on during the second period of their NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Not only were the Los Angeles Kings short-handed on the ice because of undisciplined penalties, they also were short-handed on the bench because of injuries to a couple of key players.
Jonathan Quick's stellar goaltending helped the Kings overcome all of it.
Quick made 41 saves, and Los Angeles got goals from Dustin Brown and defenceman Jack Johnson to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Thursday night.
But defenceman Willie Mitchell sustained an undisclosed lower body injury on his first shift and didn't return. Then centre Mike Richards, who had nine goals in his previous 10 games, sat out the third period because of an undisclosed upper body injury.
"We haven't got a full report yet," coach Terry Murray said. "The doctors and trainers are busy evaluating them, and they'll probably let me know a little bit more before I get away tonight. We'll have a better idea tomorrow."
Los Angeles killed all six Florida power plays, including a double minor to Richards that carried over into the third period. The Kings have killed 24 straight penalties.
"It's great for Quickie, but we've got to give him more help," Brown said. "A lot of their chances came on the power play. They moved it around a lot, but we found a way to kill it off with some big blocks and some big saves."
"We didn't have our best game, and it wasn't pretty by any means," the Kings captain added. "Losing guys like Mitchell and Richards during the game is not easy. It's not easy when you're short-handed, but we found a way to win."
Sean Bergenheim scored for Florida, and Jose Theodore stopped 23 shots. The Panthers are 0-7 against the Kings since Nov. 27, 2002, when they beat them 5-2 in Los Angeles.
"We had great chances all night," Panthers forward Stephen Weiss said. "It was one of our better efforts, but they just weren't going in for us. Their goalie played well and made some big saves, and we didn't have the answer for them."
Kris Versteeg, who leads Florida with 12 goals and 26 points in his first season with the club, was scratched for the first time because of a broken nose after getting elbowed by Carolina's Derek Joslin during Tuesday's 3-1 win.
"We thoroughly outplayed them," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "They were trying to run around and chase us and hack us and slash us. When you are getting outplayed as badly as they were, that's the response. We walk out of here feeling very good about the way we played."
Johnson gave the Kings a 1-0 lead 1:35 in with a shot from the left boards that deflected off Florida defenceman Mike Weaver and past Theodore's glove.
The Panthers outshot Los Angeles 10-1 during the first 12:20 of the second period, but came up empty on a 5-on-3 power play they had for 35 seconds. Johnson, Richards and Rob Scuderi kept Florida at bay, blocking several shots in front of Quick.
"All those power plays against us makes it hard. It shortens the bench, takes a lot of guys out of the game, and it's tough to get a flow going," Murray said. "But the penalty killers did a big job, especially after we lost Willie Mitchell on the back end—because he's a very good penalty killer.
"He played only one shift, and then as the game goes along, Mike Richards is gone. And he's a pretty good penalty killer. So that put a little bit of pressure on some guys, but everybody stepped it up and got the job done."
Brown made it 2-0 at 14:13 of the second, beating Theodore high to the glove side with a shot from the left circle after Slava Voynov hit him with a pass from his own zone as Brown cut across the blue line. Quick earned his sixth career assist on the goal, which came while Mike Santorelli was off for goaltender interference.
Bergenheim cut the Panthers' deficit to 2-1 with 4:21 left in the period, converting a rebound of Erik Gudbranson's wrist shot from the right point.
Evgenii Dadonov was moved up from the fourth line into Versteeg's spot on the Panthers' top line with Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann. Center Bracken Kearns was recalled from San Antonio of the AHL to fill Versteeg's roster spot and played in his third NHL game. Panthers defenceman Dmitry Kulikov was back in the lineup, two nights after sustaining a deep cut on his lower right leg from the skate of Carolina's Eric Staal.
NOTES: Versteeg, Weiss and Fleischmann accounted for 31 goals through the Panthers' first 24 games, six fewer than the rest of the team combined. ... Dadonov has no goals in eight games after scoring two following his recall from the minors. ... Panthers LW Marco Sturm, who scored 20 or more goals in seven of his 13 previous NHL seasons, has only one in 18 games since being acquired from Vancouver. ... The crowd of 17,720 was the second non-sellout for the Kings in 13 home games. ... The Panthers have allowed two goals in 30 short-handed situations over the last 10 games, but are only 4 for 45 on the power play during that stretch.