Nothing came easy for the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night as they lost to the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1 in a shootout in front of 16,353 at the PNC Arena.
Jeff Skinner scored a clutch goal, his first of the season, and Cam Ward made 36 saves as the team earned a tough, but important point in the loss.
The Kings were very physical this night and outhit the Hurricanes, 36-18. Elias Lindholm actually had to leave the game twice after being hit, both times favoring his shoulder. He did not return after the second hit and there was no update of his status after the game.
Justin Faulk was also hit high on a play in the first period and he went to the dressing room as well for a few minutes but returned to the game and finished with 23:10 of ice time.
The teams battled through two scoreless periods and both goalies were making sparkling saves, although the Kings carried play more often than the Canes did.
Finally, at 13:26 into the third period, the Canes had a powerplay chance and were re-grouping in their own end. Eric Staal sent a cross ice pass to Faulk which the defenseman could not handle and Dwight King took the loose puck in alone on Ward, beating the goalie five-hole.
The shorthanded goal could have deflated the battle weary team, who had just played the night before in Washington, but to their credit they took the puck down and attacked the Kings once again. Just 40 seconds after the first goal, Skinner would knock in an Andrej Sekera rebound right on the doorstep of Jonathan Quick to tie the game.
The teams went back and forth again until the end of regulation and then the Hurricanes had to valiantly kill a 4-3 opportunity in overtime as Jay Harrison took a penalty trying to stop Mike Richards from breaking into the clear.
Neither team was able to score and the contest went to a shootout, something the Canes have not been very successful at in recent years.
Jeff Skinner started things off, but was stopped by Quick. Anze Kopitar was next and Ward stopped him with a sprawling effort. Next up was Alexander Semin who just missed. Then Jeff Carter would beat Ward for the eventual game-winner. Nathan Gerbe was the last shooter and Quick stopped him as well.
The Hurricanes will stay at home for a couple more games and will next face the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.
- While the Canes were outshot, and outhit they played a gritty game and held in there well against a bigger, fresher team. They also only won a dismal 31% of faceoffs for the game which didn't help and that will need to be improved upon.
- Faulk and Sekera both had a team high three blocked shots. Ron Hainsey played a game-high 25:37 of ice time and was only credited with a single blocked shot, although it seemed he had more. Brett Bellemore had a team high three hits. Mike Komisarek had two.
- Jordan Staal, Patrick Dwyer, Semin, and Skinner each had a team high four shots on goal.
- The team will practice at noon at the Raleigh Center Ice rink on Saturday because of the NC State football game.