The Carolina Hurricanes dropped another game, their 13th straight without a win, this time to the Los Angeles Kings last night by a score of 5-2. Tuomo Ruutu scored two goals for the home team in a losing effort.
The Canes came out flat and generated just two shots on goal during the opening period, their lowest total for a period all season long. Matt Cullen was called for boarding at 3:34 and the Kings scored just seven seconds later on the powerplay. It was the earliest goal the team had allowed all season.
Carolina, who still leads the NHL in penalties taken, was called for two more infractions later in the period but was able to kill the 5-on-3 advantage. One might think that the successful penalty kill would have given the team a spark, but it did not.
In the second period the visitors added to their lead as Jarret Stoll cruised in close to the crease and put an odd looking shot past Manny Legace. The new Carolina goalie started out a little shaky, but had a fairly good night considering the circumstances. He admitted to making a few puckhandling mistakes and said that his hands were shaking a bit early in the game.
Down 2-0, the Hurricanes finally started to fight back. Tuomo Ruutu beat Kings' backup goalie, Erik Ersberg, with a nice wrist shot. Ersberg had yet to win a game all year. Ruutu would score again early in the third period, tying the score and giving the home crowd something to cheer about along with some false hope.
Less than a minute after that goal, Scott Walker was called for roughing and the Canes momentum was officially killed. Randy Jones would score his first goal of the season and first goal as a King during the ensuing powerplay and that goal would turn out to be the game winner.
Jones was put on waivers by the Flyers and was recently acquired by the Kings on re-entry waivers. He also had an assist and was named the game's first star.
Once again after the game, the team and the head coach had no words of wisdom. They know they need to work harder, but do not know why the work is not getting done. In the meantime, the Canes keep making crucial mistakes at the wrong time, which seem to kill their chances of winning.
In this case, it seemed to be Scott Walker's penalty right after Ruutu's second goal. But both Ruutu and Maurice were quick to blame the penalty kill rather than the penalty. Even Tim Gleason blamed himself and said that he made a key mistake on a penalty kill which led to a goal.
- Scott Walker and Stephane Yelle both left the game with injuries. Yelle blocked a shot during the 5-on-3 which obviously hurt him. Walker was checked awkwardly into the boards and skated slowly off the ice. The coaches had no update on either player's status.
- For a team nursing a 12 game winless streak, it is mystifying why they would come out flat in the opening period of a home game. Los Angeles had much more jump and outshot the Canes 13-2 in the opening segment.
- Brandon Sutter came close to scoring and played with a lot of jump. While Zach Boychuk did not score a goal while he was with Carolina, the team did seem to miss his speed out there. The Kings are a much faster skating hockey club.
- Maurice was happy with the play of Bryan Rodney and rewarded him with over 21 minutes of ice time. Rodney was muscled off the puck a couple of times, but at least tried to do a few things offensively and led the team with four blocked shots.
- The Canes made backup goalie Erik Ersberg look like an all star. Even with Ruutu's goals, there was little traffic in front of the net. Tom Kostopoulos was called for goalie interference once, but the Hurricanes made life pretty easy on the seldom used goaltender.
- The team was credited with 42 hits, but Paul Maurice was not impressed. The hits, especially on the forecheck, did not create enough turnovers.
- Carolina pulled the goalie again to give themselves an "advantage" in the final two minutes. The team has yet to score in that situation all season long but they have allowed a league high five empty net goals.
Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu were nice enough to come out and speak to the media after the game.