About the only thing consistent about the Kings this season is their inconsistency. And that has left Coach Darryl Sutter more than a little impatient.
“We need more production out of the top guys,” he complained this week. “That's clear. That's evident.”
But until that happens, the Kings will have to get by the way they did Tuesday in a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers, one that gave them back-to-back victories for the first time in more than three weeks.
Much of the offense came from unexpected sources with defenseman Matt Greene and Robyn Regehr scoring their first goals of the season, Marian Gaborik getting his first power-play score of the year and Jamie McBain picking up an assist for his first point with the Kings.
FOR THE RECORD
Nov. 19, 11:36 a.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that McBain's assist was the first point of his NHL career.
And all that happened in the second period.
With three minutes left in the final period, Dustin Brown, one of the unproductive players Sutter was talking about, put an exclamation point on the victory with his third goal of the season. For Brown, who had been dropped to the fourth line, the goal was his first since Nov. 4. And with Justin Williams picking up an assist on that score, a dozen Kings contributed either a goal or an assist Tuesday.
The first goal went to Greene, who deflected Brayden McNabb's slap shot over Florida goalie Roberto Luongo's pads less than five minutes into the second period. But the goal wouldn't have happened without Anze Kopitar digging in to protect the puck along the boards.
Jeff Carter doubled the lead with a power-play goal five minutes later, taking a nifty feed from Dwight King in the slot and beating Luongo to the blocker side. Gaborik added another power-play goal when he swept the puck out of a crowded crease and into the net.
“We're using everybody on the power play until everybody sharpens up,” Sutter said. “Everybody gets a chance.”
Regehr then gave Sutter something else to smile about, closing the Kings' most productive second period of the season with a one-timer from the left faceoff circle eight seconds before the intermission.
“It's good to see Robyn and Greene score. They don't get much credit and they can give you the blue-collar [efforts] every night,” Sutter said.
The Panthers began clawing their way back into the game two minutes into the third period on a power-play goal from Jimmy Hayes, only the fourth goal the Kings' penalty killers have allowed at home this season. And when Jussi Jokinen shaved another goal off the lead at 6:55, the Kings' once-comfortable lead had been halved.
“We have to learn how to play 60 minutes,” Sutter said.
Brown finally closed things out, taking a feed from Williams to the left of the goal and pushing the puck toward goalie Al Montoya, who came on for Luongo to start the third period and couldn't keep Brown's shot from trickling between his legs.
For all their apparent offensive troubles, the Kings have scored five goals three times in their last five games.
In addition to Kopitar, McNabb, who also helped on the Brown goal, finished with two assists, and Carter had a second-period assist to go with his goal.