|LAK||1||1||3||(0 - 0)||5|
|CAR||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
The Carolina Hurricanes will have to try to snap their 13-game losing streak on Friday the 13th.
After tying the score early in the third period, the Canes once again fell victim to a pair of quick strikes en route to yet another frustrating defeat, this time getting beat by a player recently picked up on waivers and a goaltender who hasn’t won an NHL game since Dec. 13, 2008.
“We’ve got to keep our heads high and everybody’s ticked off, but that’s the business,” Tim Gleason said from a silent Carolina locker room after a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. “I keep going back to character. I know times are tough and guys want to play better. Guys are looking at themselves in the mirror.”
What’s staring them back in the face – just seven points in 17 games – isn’t necessarily a pretty picture.
“You know what, this doesn’t even feel good personally, to be honest,” Tuomo Ruutu said when asked breaking out of his offensive slump with two wicked wrist shot goals. “We’ve just got to work harder. There is no other way. We can talk as much as we want but it has got to happen on the ice.”
This portion of the schedule, with five of the next six at the RBC Center, appeared to be an opportunity for the Canes to attempt to dig out of a major hole. But once again, a total team effort was elusive from the opening drop of the puck.
“If we don’t get a win soon we’re going to be in big trouble,” Gleason said.
Carolina entered the third period either trailing or tied for the 15th time in its first 17 games, but were able to tie the score 2-2 on Ruutu’s second goal with 15:57 left.
But Scott Walker was called for a roughing penalty less than a minute later, and near the end of the L.A. power play Randy Jones scored the game winner off a pass from former Carolina winger Justin Williams. Jones, a defenseman claimed off waivers from Philadelphia on Oct. 29, was parked to the right of Manny Legace for an easy tap in.
“I didn’t think it was just about the penalty,” Ruutu said. “You’ve got to earn your luck. We play pretty good hockey for 30 minutes and the other 30 minutes we’re just not working hard enough.”
A little more than three minutes later, a goal by Wayne Simmonds halfway through the third deflated a team that already is skating on thin ice confidence-wise, and Williams capped the losing night with an empty-net goal.
“We had the game at 2-2, had an opportunity, and just threw it away,” Gleason said.
The Kings went up 2-0 with a goal 2:01 into the second as Aaron Ward failed to cover Jarrett Stoll on an innocent looking play as the puck squirted past Legace. In the meantime, the Canes were in the midst of a stretch of a little more than 18 minutes without a shot on little-known Erik Ersberg, making his second start of the season and first since Oct. 14.
Maurice mixed up his lines after 20 minutes and it paid off late in the second as Ruutu got on the scoreboard for the first time since being suspended for three games with a low wrist shot from the top of the right circle to get the crowd back in the game. The assist by Rod Brind’Amour was his 294th with Carolina, tying him with Kevin Dineen for second on the all-time list, well behind Ron Francis (793).
Legace saw his share of rubber in the first period in his first NHL start of the season, stopping 12 of 13 shots, while the Canes’ offensive woes continued, going the final 15:27 without a shot on goal.
“We didn’t hit anything and we didn’t skate,” Maurice said of the sluggish first period. “We have to fight like we did the last 20 minutes for 60, and then harder and then some. We’re just not willing to do that right now, or fully appreciate when you’re under-manned exactly how hard you have to fight.”
The highlight of the period came on defense when Carolina killed off a 5-on-3 for 1:50. The Kings managed just one shot during the two-man advantage despite Ward and Stephane Yelle each going down to the ice late in the kill after getting stung with the puck on key blocks.
“I thought it was great,” Maurice said of that kill. “That’s what you need. That’s the most frustrating part because you get it (effort) and then you don’t, then you get it and you don’t. I don’t expect to go out and dominate the L.A. Kings. They’ve got a very good hockey team, but you would like your fight level to be more consistent. Some of the stuff we do with the puck almost looks like we’re defeated for no reason.”
Legace made a remarkable glove save 3:03 into the game after he misplayed the puck behind the net and had to scramble back to the front of the cage. But the Kings scored 28 seconds later and just seven seconds after Matt Cullen went to the penalty box for boarding.
Legace faced 31 shots and made some nice saves in his debut with the Canes.
“A little quicker than I’ve been playing against the last month or so,” Legace said, referring to his minor league stint. “I didn’t make a big save in the third period to give our guys a chance to win. It’s as simple as that.”
“Manny came into kind of a big mess and I thought he played pretty well,” added Gleason. “He’s not the guy to point the finger at. It’s the guys in front of him who again didn’t do the job.”
The loss drops the Canes to 2-12-3, including 2-5-1 at home with just 12 goals in their last eight games.
“You never feel like you’re at the end of it,” Maurice said when asked if there’s any coaching method he hasn’t tried to shake his club out of its funk. “There are always more barrels to kick and more to do.”
NOTES: The Canes have led after the first period just four times in 17 games. … Bryan Rodney arrived in time for the game from the minors to fill in for a sick Joni Pitkanan and played 21:29 while blocking a team-high four shots. … Yelle didn’t return after the first period with a lower-body injury. … Walker also went out late in the third after being checked into the corner boards. … Carolina has scored two goals or less in 14 of 17 games. … The Hurricanes went 0-for-2 on the power play and haven’t scored a man-advantage goal in six games.
|PPG - Ryan Smyth (9) ASST: Dustin Brown (11), Anze Kopitar (15)|
1 - 0 LAK
|Jarret Stoll (5) ASST: Randy Jones (1), Wayne Simmonds (6)|
2 - 0 LAK
|Tuomo Ruutu (3) ASST: Rod Brind'Amour (5), Sergei Samsonov (5)|
2 - 1 LAK
|Tuomo Ruutu (4) ASST: Ray Whitney (5), Andrew Alberts (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Randy Jones (1) ASST: Justin Williams (10), Alex Frolov (10)|
3 - 2 LAK
|Wayne Simmonds (5) ASST: Alex Frolov (11), Michal Handzus (4)|
4 - 2 LAK
|EN - Justin Williams (5) ASST: Ryan Smyth (13), Anze Kopitar (16)|
5 - 2 LAK
|Matt Cullen Boarding against Rob Scuderi|
|Bryan Rodney Tripping against Brad Richardson|
|Joe Corvo Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Peter Harrold Elbowing against Jussi Jokinen|
|Tom Kostopoulos Interference on goalkeeper against Erik Ersberg|
|Scott Walker Roughing against Drew Doughty|
|Wayne Simmonds Interference against Rod Brind'Amour|
|SA: 24||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 22||EV: 18 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .917||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 30||TOI: 59:44|
|Saves: 26||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 6|
|SV%: .867||SH: 1 - 1|