Bednar paid dividends in his first game with the Florida
Panthers, assisting on two goals Wednesday night in a 5-2 victory
over his former Los Angeles Kings teammates.
Bednar, who had four goals and 11 assists in 37 games with the
Kings, set up the goal that put Florida ahead to stay at 15:51 of
the second period. He outmuscled Brad Chartrand for the puck and
flipped it to Kristian Huselius, who scored on a one-timer.
"He was very impressive,'' coach Mike Keenan said of Bednar.
"He's a highly skilled player and he made two great passes for two
goals. He sees the ice well and competes. Lilja did a good job,
too. He moves the puck with authority, knows the game and knows his
Bednar, who played 18 shifts on a line with Huselius and Marcus
Nilson, accepted the trade as a part of the business.
"This is hockey. I don't care where I'm playing. I've just got
to keep working hard because that's my job,'' the rookie said.
"I'm just happy we won the game and that I had two assists.''
To obtain Bednar and Lilja, the Panthers gave up defenseman
Dmitry Yushkevich and a fifth-round draft pick. Yushkevich's debut
with the Kings was postponed because of a ruptured blood vessel in
his right eye that was discovered during a pregame physical.
Last Friday at Phoenix, Yushkevich was struck by a slap shot
that broke his nose and caused a cut that required 35 stitches to
close. Yushkevich returned for the third period of that game, then
played a regular shift Sunday at Anaheim.
He might be cleared to play Friday when he's back in Anaheim.
"We didn't overlook them. They're a solid team,'' Kings center
Bryan Smolinski said. "They may not have been winning, but they've
been getting points, and that's what good teams do.''
Jani Hurme made 32 saves for the Panthers, who were 0-3-5 since
beating Calgary on Nov. 9. The Panthers had played four consecutive
overtime games -- one shy of the NHL record.
"We're a hard team to beat, and that's good for us,'' Huselius
said. "We're trying to build on that and win some games.''
Mathieu Schneider had a goal and an assist for the Kings. Ziggy
Palffy also scored, and Smolinski had two assists.
Lilja was sent off for holding at 4:05 of the second period, and
the Kings opened the scoring six seconds into the power play when
Schneider beat Hurme with a one-timer from just inside the blue
The Kings' lead lasted only 31 seconds as Novoseltsev lifted his
fourth goal over Felix Potvin from the right of the crease during a
goal-mouth scramble after Potvin stopped Ryan Johnson's short wrist
"We didn't work hard enough to win,'' defenseman Mattias
Norstrom said. "It was a poor effort by us. There's no excuse for
that. The second period might have been the worst we've played all
season. A lot of things went wrong.''
Chartrand was serving a hooking penalty when Ozolinsh made it
3-1 with a slap shot from the right point that beat Potvin with
15:22 remaining. The goal came just 14 seconds after Hurme stopped
Aaron Miller on a short-handed bid.
"That was the biggest stop of the night,'' Keenan said.
"That's how hockey always seems to work, doesn't it? You get a
great stop, and then the other team comes down and scores. It was a
momentum swing. Goaltending is the key to any team being successful
in this league.''
The Kings are 5-8-3 against the Panthers. ... Huselius has
12 goals, eight in his last 12 games. ... The Panthers got only one
shot on net during the first 15½ minutes, after scoring two
first-period goals in each of their previous four games. ... For
the Panthers, Peter Worrell played in his 300th NHL game, Marcus
Nilson his 200th and Kristian Huselius his 100th. Kings C Derek
Armstrong also played in his 100th NHL contest. ... Kings C Ian
Laperriere sat out because of a neck strain, and D Lubomir
Visnovsky was scratched because of a back strain.