OC Register Kevin Fiala answers the call as Kings edge Panthers


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
Jul 28, 2004
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Fiala has been reading the papers.

He powered the Kings past the Florida Panthers, 2-1, getting involved in all their offense with a goal and a primary assist on Thursday night, just one game after Coach Todd McLellan critiqued his play publicly following Saturday’s loss to Philadelphia.

Fiala scored a very early goal and set up Anze Kopitar on the power play. Phillip Danault, Trevor Moore and Drew Doughty also contributed assists as the Kings won in their own building for just the second time in eight games. Adrian Kempe’s career-best points streak was halted at nine games. Cam Talbot mixed some quiet brilliance into his 30-save melange and benefitted from his skaters blocking 20 shots to end the Panthers’ five-game winning streak.

Leading scorer Sam Reinhart scored for the defending Eastern Conference champions, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 24 saves.

Fiala waited all of 80 seconds to provide a response to some postgame chiding from McLellan after Saturday’s loss, scoring a goal on his first shift for the game’s first lead. An ill-fated pinch by Niko Mikkola against Moore created a two-on-one rush during which Danault’s pass led Fiala toward the net, where he deked into a backhand finish.

Fiala helped extend the Kings’ lead with a primary assist on Kopitar’s power-play goal, a low-flying one-timer from directly between the circles with 6:07 to play in the second period. It was the Kings’ first man-advantage goal in three games after going 0 for 6 in losses to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It was the 13th assist and 16th point through 15 games for Fiala.

If Fiala has faced a bit of scrutiny recently, Talbot could certainly counsel him as he has had innumerable eyes on him since training camp as the Kings’ budget option in goal. Thus far, he’s been a better value than a pair of Jordans at a discount department store. He moved to 8-3-1 and courted a shutout with his fifth one-goal game of 2023-24.

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Talbot reignited his play after an unremarkable performance against Philadelphia, no more than during a second-period Panthers power play when his puck-tracking and pad work channeled a prime Jonathan Quick to deny three strong chances for Florida. He denied Hart Trophy finalist Matthew Tkachuk’s one-timer from the right circle a man up in the final frame as well.

With 8:15 to play, Reinhart broke up Talbot’s shutout and continued his own torrid play. He extended his points streak to six games, though this was his first outing with a solitary point as he put up a dozen points across a five-game win streak that was snapped Thursday.

Fiala’s only blemish on the night was a third-period penalty, one of four that Talbot and his shorthanded assassins killed without allowing a power-play goal Thursday evening en route to a wire-to-wire win.


Kings center Pierre-Luc Dubois sustained an apparent lower-body injury when he lost his footing on a breakaway and crashed into the post late in the third. He went straight back to the dressing room and did not return.

More to come on this story.

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