Series (Game 1 of 1)

Florida leads 1-0

Game 1: Wednesday, November 27th

Panthers 5

(7-7-4, 24 pts)

Kings 2

(9-7-3, 24 pts)

10:30 PM ET, November 27, 2002

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California

1 2 3 T
FLA 0 2 35
LA 0 1 12

J. Hurme (Panthers - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: .941

S. Ozolinsh (Panthers - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Z. Palffy (Kings - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Bednar gets two assists against former team

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jaroslav Bednar and Andreas Lilja were traded from one coast to the other, but they didn't have to change buildings to join their new team or impress their new coach.

Jaroslav Bednar

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 position well.''

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.

Sandis Ozolinsh had a goal and an assist to help Florida end an eight-game winless streak. Nilson and Ivan Novoseltsev also scored and Viktor Kozlov had an empty-net goal.

"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 line.

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 shot.

"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.''

Game notes

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 15 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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press