|LAK||3||3||1||(0 - 0)||7|
|FLA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
The Florida Panthers hope Jozef Stumpel can continue his surge Saturday and take advantage of the Western Conference-worst Los Angeles Kings when the teams meet for the only time this season.
Stumpel had two goals and an assist Thursday to lead Florida (20-23-10) to its third win in four games, 6-3 over Washington.
"We got a big performance out of people like Jozef Stumpel," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought his line was really excellent. Juraj Kolnik gave us a big game on that line, and it seems like the change of lines really helped out."
Stumpel appears to have benefited from Martin's changes that have added Kolnik, who had a goal and an assist Thursday, to his line with Rostislav Olesz.
Stumpel has 15 points over his last 11 games, including 10 points in five home games. The center had 26 points in the previous 41 overall contests and his point surge has moved him to second on the team in points behind Olli Jokinen (53).
"I feel comfortable out there," said Stumpel, who has 15 goals to match his total from last season. "We got this one done, and obviously we need to get the next one."
Stumpel looks to build on his recent performances and get his first point against Los Angeles - one of his former clubs - since Jan. 10, 2002, while with Boston. He had two stints with the Kings from 1997-2001 and again in 2003-04 before joining Florida as a free agent. The Czech Republic native had a career-best 79 points with Los Angeles in 1997-98.
His recent success has helped the Panthers go 6-1-1 at home since Dec. 23.
Jokinen, who played with Stumpel for the Kings from 1997-99, has been held without a goal in five straight games. He has 17 goals and 35 points in 26 home games this season, compared to five goals and 18 points in 27 road contests.
Jokinen has two points in seven games against his former club and was held pointless in the last two meetings - both losses.
The Kings (17-30-7) have won only once in their last 11 games (1-8-2), being outscored 41-23. Their woeful play has dropped them to the bottom of the West, four points behind 14th-place Chicago.
Los Angeles opens a season-high five-game road trip with the worst road record in the league at 6-18-0. The team is tied with Florida for the fewest road wins.
The Kings lost at home on Thursday, 3-2 in overtime to the Blackhawks.
Despite the defeat, center Jamie Lundmark appeared optimistic after scoring his first goal of the season in his second game with Los Angeles since being acquired in a trade from Calgary on Monday.
"It was definitely big for me," said Lundmark, who had not scored since April 15 against the Kings. "It's been a rough season so far in the goal department, to get one like that was big."
Los Angeles hopes Lundmark, a highly touted first-round draft choice by the New York Rangers in 1999, can build on the performance and help the team win for only the second time in nine road contests. He has 21 goals and 63 points in 205 NHL games.