SUNRISE, Fla. -- So much for home sweet home, as the Florida Panthers slept-walked through a lackluster 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Sunday afternoon at a library-quiet BB&T Center.
It took less than two days for the home-opening night buzz of the Panthers' entertaining victory over the Penguins to fizzle like a day-old open can of soda.
Panthers coach Kevin Dineen prefers the Kings' physical, grind-it-out, throw-the-puck to the net style to fancy tic-tac-toe passes. After all it won the Kings a Stanley Cup in 2012.
"They have a formula that's very simple," Dineen said. "They're a very big, strong-bodied team who (battles) not only on the first confrontation but the secondary ones, too. As the game wore down, we got worn down.
"The problem we have is our hockey IQ dropped as well. We thought we could play a fancy game. You can't play a fancy game against the Kings or the majority of the NHL to have success. ... We're a continuing work in progress."
The Kings, who have won three straight, improved to 4-2, while the Panthers fell to 2-4, and now have dropped eight of the last nine to Los Angeles as they prepare for a quick one-game trip to Nashville.
After a scoreless first period in which it seemed both teams were skating on West Coast time, the Kings took a 1-0 lead at 8:46 as winger Daniel Carcillo took a behind-the-net feed from Mike Richards before depositing it past Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom (26 saves).
With the ice starting to tilt toward the Kings' offensive zone, Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell's clearing pass was picked off by forward Justin Williams, who then worked a sweet give-and-go with star center Anze Kopitar for a snap-shot and 2-0 lead at 14:55.
It was Williams' first goal of the season, but his 500th career point.
"They can shut you down pretty good there and if we make mistakes -- I blame that on myself -- we've got to find a way," Campbell said. "I didn't think we flat-lined. I thought we skated all right, but they're a tough team to get inside and crack on. We've got to put some long-distance shots in there and see what happens."
For the second straight game the Panthers got their opponent's backup goalie, however, former Leafs' goalie Ben Scrivens playing for 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy-winning Jonathan Quick, is not nearly the drop-off of Pittsburgh going from Marc-Andre Fleury to Jeff Zatkoff making his NHL debut.
Scrivens notched 20 saves but had two big stops on Kris Versteeg in the first and on a Brad Boyes' breakaway in the opening minute of the second to improve to 3-0 against Florida, including two of his three career shutouts.
Jordan Nolan iced the Panthers after redirecting a pass from Jarret Stoll at 12:28 of the third. The Kings were ranked last in the NHL with three even-strength goals before tripling that on Sunday.
"We're going through a phase where for five minutes we start getting a little too cute instead of getting it on net," said Panthers center Scott Gomez, who was on ice for all of L.A.'s three goals. "The way this league is it's got to be ugly."
Actually, Gomez described this stinker to a tee.
Panthers rookie center Nick Bjugstad, 21, who sustained a concussion during the final game of the rookie tournament on Sept. 8, came off injured reserve on Sunday, but was a healthy scratch.
"We're in discussions now," Dineen said. "Nick will be out there at practice for us (Monday) and will be an option for us Tuesday night (in Nashville). We're looking for big, strong bodies and that's a guy that fits that mold."
Also scratched were goalie Tim Thomas (groin) and defenseman Ryan Whitney, as blueliner Matt Gilroy got his second straight start.
Kings defenseman Keaton Ellerby was hoping to play his first game against the Panthers, where he played the first three-plus seasons of his career after being drafted with the 10th overall pick in 2007, but he was a healthy scratch for the sixth straight game.
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