Gabriel Vilardi arrived with some flair, scoring the fastest goal of a debut in NHL history and adding an assist as the Los Angeles Kings earned a 5-4 victory on Thursday over the visiting Florida Panthers.
Ben Hutton scored the go-ahead goal at 12:45 of the third period as the Kings won for the third time in their last four games. Drew Doughty, Trevor Moore and Martin Frk also scored goals for the Kings, whose rebuild is under way after two key trades this week.
Aleksander Barkov scored two goals and Jonathan Huberdeau delivered a career-best four-point game for the Panthers, who are now 2-1 at the start of a key five-game West Coast trip that has come on the heels of a 2-6-1 record immediately after the All-Star break.
Florida started the trip with victories at San Jose and Anaheim, defeating the Ducks 4-1 on Wednesday.
Vilardi, the 11th overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Kings, scored 6.8 seconds into his first career shift early in the opening period. The quick debut goal was nearly 10 seconds faster than Gus Bodnar for the 1943 Toronto Maple Leafs.
Vilardi added an assist from behind the goal on a second-period score from Frk that gave the Kings a brief 4-3 lead. Los Angeles traded defenseman Alec Martinez and forward Tyler Toffoli amid a season when they are 22-34-5 and last in the Western Conference.
Moore, from nearby Thousand Oaks, became just the second California native to score a home goal for the Kings after Noah Clarke in 2007. He was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this month when forward Kyle Clifford and goalie Jack Campbell were traded.
The Panthers also received a power-play goal from Mike Hoffman, his 23rd that tied the score 4-4 less than a minute into the third period. Hutton's game-winner for the Kings was his fourth of the season and came following a rebound off Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who had 35 saves.
Huberdeau had three assists for the Panthers, with two of them coming on both of Barkov's goals.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick had 25 saves in the victory while recording back-to-back wins.
--Field Level Media