Hurricanes 2, Kings 1
Tracking the Storm: Analysis
- Another tight game, and another win for the Carolina Hurricanes. This time, it’s a 2-1 win against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Though it wasn’t the Canes’ best effort, they still found a way in the final 40 minutes to keep the Kings off the scoreboard. “That’s the nice thing now: we’re finding ways to pick up points in these tight games opposed to probably a month ago when who knows if we’d get one or two points,” head coach Kirk Muller said.
- Giving up a power play goal and only generating four shots on net in the first period against a team that played last night, the Canes knew they had to be better in the latter two periods. That was the main message in the first intermission, and the team responded with a much better effort in the final 40. “They came out ready to play, and it seemed like they had a step on us in the first period,” Cam Ward said. “We weren’t too pleased with it after the first intermission, but once again, we were able to turn it around and we played a much better second period.”
- Speaking of Ward, he continued his brilliance again tonight, making 24 saves on 25 shots. That’s 71 saves on 72 shots in his last two games, for those keeping track. His ability to shut the Kings down when the Canes were still trying to find their game was key in the team’s win. “We knew the first period wasn’t good enough, and we were able to walk away just down 1-0,” Ward said. “We knew it was going to be a tight game, and we were able to correct it.”
- Tim Gleason provided a spark of energy to his team late in the first period when he fought Kyle Clifford. It was a quick scrap, with Gleason getting in a few good shots early before tackling Clifford. More importantly, it gave the team the life needed. After the game, Jeff Skinner specifically pointed to Gleason’s fight as being a turning point in their game tonight. “That’s why we signed [Gleason]. He’s got a lot of character,” Muller said. “We needed some kind of momentum change in the game, and that was great. The guys responded, and we came out much better in the second.”
- Jiri Tlusty had a great one-man effort to tie the game at one in the second period. He blocked a point shot, raced after the puck and roofed a wrist shot. The Canes desperately needed that goal, as you can see from the bench reaction here.
- Jeff Skinner scored the game-winning goal in the third period, his 15th goal of the season and third in five games. This is all coming after he missed 16 games with a concussion; seeing the sophomore forward rebound from that injury like he has is very encouraging. His goal tonight was a scrappy one in front where he picked up a rebound and deposited it in the net, something he said you can’t really practice. “I’m not going to be digging on Cam Ward in practice like that, so those things sort of take time to come back,” he said.
Recap (Associated Press)
- The Hurricanes won’t play at home again until Feb. 17. Between now and then, they have a three-game road trip through Anaheim, Colorado and Montreal. “We just want to take care of our game and focus on us,” Muller said. “If we can keep climbing like that, that’s obviously what we’re after.”
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Jeff Skinner scored 3:02 into the third period to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Jiri Tlutsy also scored and Cam Ward made 24 saves for the Hurricanes, who are 8-2-1 in their last 11 home games as they try to work their way up from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
Anze Kopitar scored for Los Angeles and Jonathan Bernier made 20 saves.
The Kings have lost two in a row.
With the score tied at 1, Skinner worked hard on the forecheck deep in the Los Angeles zone. He eventually freed the puck and got it back to Jussi Jokinen, whose wrist shot was stopped by Bernier. Skinner pounced on the rebound before Bernier could freeze the puck and shot it into the open net.
It was Skinner's third goal in his last five games.
Los Angeles opened the scoring when Kopitar one-timed a shot from the slot past Ward. Justin Williams set Kopitar up with a nice pass from the corner.
Carolina tied the score late in the second when Tlutsy blocked a shot at the Carolina blue line. The puck deflected back into the Kings' zone, and Tlutsy managed to corral it along the right boards. He skated forward and beat Bernier with a wrist shot from the right circle.
The comeback win was a rarity for the Hurricanes, who entered the game with a 1-13-0 record when trailing after the first period.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, was 9-0-1 when leading after the first.
The Kings are in the midst of six-game road trip. Los Angeles, which entered the game in seventh place in the West, lost 1-0 to St. Louis on Friday.
The last time Los Angeles played in Carolina was on Nov. 11, 2009.
Ward has played especially well during the Hurricanes' surge at home. Coming into the game, he had posted a 1.88 goals-against average over the previous 10 home games.
NOTES: Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter is the uncle of Carolina's Brandon Sutter. ... The Kings didn't get into Raleigh until early Saturday morning after their game in St. Louis. ... Williams was a member of the Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006.
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