'Professor' leads Kings to shutout victory

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- "The Professor" aced his first test of the season.
Backup goalie and former Ivy-Leaguer Ben Scrivens made his first start of the season and earned a shutout as the Los Angeles Kings blanked the Florida Panthers, 3-0, Sunday afternoon at the BB&T Center.
"I went to a pretty decent school," Scrivens, a former first-team All-American at Cornell University, said when asked about his recently acquired nickname. "In my spare time, I like to stay sharp academically. I like to read interesting books.
"You don't get to choose your own nicknames. I had (the nickname) a little bit last year in Toronto. I guess it kind of stuck and transmitted itself over here. I don't dislike it. I'll take it as a compliment. It could've been worse."
The Kings won their third straight game -- including two in a row on the road -- and improved to 4-2 overall.
Florida fell to 2-4, including 1-1 at home. In their four losses, the Panthers have been outscored 19-3.
Los Angeles outshot Florida 29-20.
The Kings got the game's first goal, which came with 8:46 left in the second period. Mike Richards, working behind the net, centered a pass to Daniel Carcillo, who got his first goal of the season. For Richards, it was his fourth assist.
"You can't fall behind a team like L.A. because of their (defensive-minded) style," Panthers' right winger Kris Versteeg said.
Four minutes later, Los Angeles forced a Panthers turnover, allowing Kings star Anze Kopitar and winger Justin Williams to execute a nifty give-and-go.
Williams ended up with the goal, beating Jacob Markstrom glove-side for his second score of the season. It was Kopitar's fifth assist.
"We feel we are working our way up," Williams. "We are trending upward. These points are just as important now as they are in March and April. We're playing better it seems every game."
With 7:32 left in the third period, the Kings put the game away on a tip-in goal by Jordan Nolan, his first of the season. The assists went to Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene.
"We're just starting to find our way right now," Nolan said. "All lines are firing. We're a big, physical team, and we're all hard workers.
"(On my goal), "we kind of trapped them up in the neutral zone. I was yelling (for the puck to be) put in the middle. Fortunately, I was able to get the puck, snap on net and put it in. I was just trying to get a quick release."
Florida was 0 for 2 on the power play, one game after going 2 for 4 against the Penguins. In addition, the Panthers were outhit 33-24 and were on the wrong side of the 6-1 giveaway stat line.
Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell said the power play was the key.
"We had a couple of good looks, and (Scrivens) made big saves," Campbell said. "You've got to score on those chances, especially when you're in their end for two minutes, and they can't change (personnel)."
The Kings kept the Panthers' two young stars in check -- second-year center Jonathan Huberdeau, 20, and rookie center Aleksander Barkov, 18. But Florida assistant coach Craig Ramsay said he loves the potential of that duo.
'They are high-end hockey players," Ramsay said. "Barkov had two blocked shots in one shift in the first period. He's been extremely strong. He's really starting to grow.
"Jonny is still fighting some injuries from last season. But he's scored a couple of great goals for us this year. He's a great competitor. Both guys have great futures."
Notes: The Panthers' scratches Sunday were G Tim Thomas, D Ryan Whitney and C Nick Bjugstad. Whitney, who is a minus-5 this season, was the only healthy scratch. ... The Panthers sent LW Joey Crabb, 30, to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. ... Kings D Jake Muzzin, a minus-5 in his first three games, was a healthy scratch Sunday for the third consecutive game. The Kings' other scratches were C Colin Fraser and D Keaton Ellerby. ... Panthers RW Brad Boyes had four of the team's first 13 goals entering Sunday's game. After scoring just 10 goals for the New York Islanders last season, he came to the Panthers on a try-out basis and made the team, earning a one-year contract. ... This Kings and Panthers faced each other for the first time since Feb. 9, 2012, when Florida snapped a 10-year, seven-game losing streak against Los Angeles. ... Kings LW Dwight King, who went goal-less in his first 18 games last season, is off to a better start this time. He scored in his fifth game of the season, a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. ... The Kings entered Sunday with two shootout wins in five games, which is as many as they had all of last season. Jonathan Quick stopped all five shots he faced in those shootouts.

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