SUNRISE, Fla. — Even though Kings goalie Ben Scrivens was surrounded by the media in the hallway after recording a shutout, teammate Willie Mitchell managed to penetrate the scrum with a pertinent observation.
"The Professor," the defenseman said, slyly, adding Scrivens had given a lesson in perfection.
Scrivens has a habit of doing this against Florida. Two of his three shutouts in the NHL have come against the Panthers. On Sunday, he stopped 20 shots in the Kings' 3-0 victory over Florida at BB&T Center in his first start of the season.
That was not the only highlight for the Kings, who have won three straight games. Kings right wing Justin Williams hit an important milestone, securing his 500th point, when he finished a dazzling give-and-go with linemate Anze Kopitar to make it 2-0 at 14:55 in the second period.
Left wing Daniel Carcillo scored the first goal of the game — his first as a King — and later assisted on Jordan Nolan's third-period goal at 12:28.
"I was fortunate not to give up any bad rebounds and the ones I did, the guys were there to clear them away," Scrivens said.
The showing by Scrivens was important on multiple levels. There was some concern about the backup goalie position after the Kings traded the talented Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Scrivens, Matt Frattin and a future draft choice.
On top of that, the Kings brought in Mathieu Garon on a tryout. But Scrivens won the job and Kings Coach Darryl Sutter thought he got better as camp went along. He got in a few minutes of relief of Jonathan Quick in the loss at Winnipeg and looked solid, and Sutter said he would play on this trip, noting his experience against the Eastern teams.
"You never want to take too much credit for anything because then you have to take credit for the bad ones too," Scrivens said. "…Definitely some guys have good feelings about playing in different spots. Again, you can't rely on that.…You can't go, 'Oh, I played really good here last year' and relax a little bit.… I've been fortunate it's worked out here in Florida."
Presumably, the "Professor" nickname comes from his education at Cornell. Plus, there is another hip element: quotes from Shakespeare on his goalie mask.
"You don’t choose your own nickname.… I don't dislike it," said Scrivens, who is the fourth goaltender in Kings history to record a shutout in his first start with the franchise. "It could be much worse than that."
He was doing his fair share of talking during the game, according to Williams.
"He's a motormouth back there, which is nice," Williams said. "He's always saying something. When you're not looking, it's important."
Williams downplayed his milestone. But he started the play and finished it, forcing the turnover by defenseman Brian Campbell.
"I don't think it means anything yet," Williams said. "Maybe when I'm retired and I look back and I say, 'Hey, I've got 500.' I hope to play quite a few more years and get a few more points and add to those totals. We had a lot of pressure offensively and I know we've had trouble scoring five-on-five goals, not just our line but the team."
Carcillo's second-period goal was a byproduct of hard work behind the net and a slick no-look set-up pass from center Mike Richards. Carcillo, who was acquired in the summer from Chicago, had played with Richards in Philadelphia.
Philly West is often a prevailing theme in L.A.
"Regardless of where players play, you'll find character guys," said Williams, another former Flyer. Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi "doesn't bring anyone in that he doesn't feel fits the mold of an L.A. King. If there's 12 ex-Flyers here, or five, who cares? But it's nice to see that connection."
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