Game Analysis: Kings At Hurricanes

Cam Ward was rock solid in his third start of the season, but he was still stuck with a shootout loss Friday against the Kings. - Grant Halverson

The Kings scored a third-period shorthanded goal to finally open the scoring Friday in Carolina, but Jeff Skinner answered later in the same power play to tie the game and give the Canes a point in an eventual 2-1 shootout loss at PNC Arena.

The Hurricanes returned to Raleigh after winning Thursday night in Washington to find Western Conference powerhouse Los Angeles waiting for them. Carolina was up to the task, playing the Kings to a scoreless tie for 46 minutes until the teams traded goals on a Canes power play before settling the game in the shootout. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Jeff Carter scored the lone goal to give the Kings an extra point and leave Carolina at 2-1-2 on the season.

Three Observations

1. It's getting close to decision time on rookie Elias Lindholm. If the Hurricanes had to decide whether or not to burn Lindholm’s first year of his entry level deal based on play alone, the choice would be slam dunk yes. But Lindholm’s recurring "upper-body" problems makes one wonder if taking a step back and really considering sending Lindholm back to Sweden for the year is the prudent train of thought.

2. The Hurricanes missed defenseman Ryan Murphy on the point of the power play Friday night, but newcomer Mike Komisarek played well in more than 14 minutes of ice time — nearly all at even strength — and the defense shut down a high-powered offense the entire night.

3. With Murphy out of the lineup and Lindholm hurt, Andrej Sekera was pushed into power play duty, and he made the most of it. Sekera saw just 30 seconds of power play time — coming on the ice right after Dwight King’s shorthanded goal — and fired the shot at the net that led to Jeff Skinner’s rebound goal. Sekera will never make his name as a point producer, but he's an underrated offensive contributor on the back end.

Number To Know

31 — percent of faceoffs won by Carolina, who were demolished in the circle 48-22 by the Kings Friday night. The abysmal night at the dot pushed Carolina down to a tie for 27th in the NHL at 43.5 percent as of late Friday. Right now, no Carolina player has won more faceoffs than they've lost.

Plus

Cam Ward — Ward was the hard-luck shootout loser Friday, stopping 36 of 37 Kings shots to restake his claim to the No. 1 job with his best performance through three appearances. Ward was particularly good when things got sloppy in front of him, staying active when pucks got loose in the crease and allowing his defense to clear the puck. The two that did get past him — King’s shorthanded tally and Carter’s shootout marker — couldn't be placed on Ward’s shoulders. Coach Kirk Muller has the best of problems right now: having two goalies he can count on to win each night.

Minus

Justin Faulk — It's a shame to have to pin L.A.'s lone goal on the player that has been without a doubt Carolina’s best so far this season, but Faulk’s power play turnover that sprung King for a shorthanded goal was the one black eye on an otherwise impressive defensive effort for the Hurricanes. Faulk still remains Carolina’s most valuable player and there's no way the team is in a scoreless game if he's not in the lineup Friday night, but that doesn't absolve him from his one error.

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