Jaromir Jagr extended his point streak to five consecutive games as he setup Aleksander Barkov in the third period for the game-winning goal and the Florida Panthers won their fourth straight game 3-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night at Staples Center.
The 45-year-old forward continued to defy age and science as he notched an assist and a +2 over 18 minutes on the ice. Roberto Luongo made 33 saves for Florida in the victory.
Jussi Jokinen and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for the Panthers, who have won seven of eight. Florida is tied with Boston for third in the Atlantic Division and leads Toronto for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference by one point.
Tanner Pearson and Dwight King each scored and Peter Budaj made 22 saves for the Kings, who are two points behind Calgary for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
Jokinen's goal put the Panthers ahead 2-0 1:14 into the second, but the Kings roared back to tie it in the same period. To start the third, Barkov raced ahead of three Kings and put a backhand shot past Budaj, reclaiming momentum and the lead.
King scored 5:39 into the second. Luongo couldn't handle his shot with Kings center Nick Shore and Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic crashing the crease, and Florida interim coach Tom Rowe challenged unsuccessfully for interference.
Pearson then got Luongo moving to his left with some clever puck handling, exploiting the subsequent gap between the goalie's legs to score his 19th of the season.
The first period turned on a delayed penalty against Los Angeles' Marian Gaborik. The Kings had held the puck in the offensive zone for nearly a minute before losing it, prompting Gaborik to reach out his stick and trip a Panther in a fruitless attempt to get it back.
Huberdeau then beat Budaj with a wrist shot in the 6-on-5 action, notching his fourth goal of the season in his sixth game, after the Panthers were able to steady themselves by getting Luongo off and bringing on an extra attacker.
Florida turned the tables on the Kings after L.A. pounded the Panthers 6-3 just 12 days ago at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.
Part of the reason for Florida flipping the script has been the play of Kings' goalie Peter Budaj since the NHL mandated bye-week the Kings had last week. Budaj struggled to stop point-blank shots in the team's 5-3 loss on Thursday and fell behing the eight-ball again on Saturday. Overall, he's allowed 19 goals in his last five starts.
The loss leaves the Kings stalling at 60 points on the season, two points behind the Calgary Flames and the Nashville Predators for the final two wild card spots in the playoffs.
After defeating the Sharks on Wednesday, and the Anaheim Ducks last night, the Panthers complete the rare California Sweep.
Panthers: Visit St. Louis on Monday night.
Kings: Visit Anaheim on Sunday night.