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Game Analysis: Canes Can't Sweep Defending Champs

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The Carolina Hurricanes couldn't replicate their win over the Kings earlier at PNC Arena, falling in Los Angeles, 3-2.

Eric Staal scored again Thursday, giving him three goals in his past two games and six on the season.
Eric Staal scored again Thursday, giving him three goals in his past two games and six on the season.
Harry How/Getty Images

The Hurricanes traded goals with Los Angeles for the first 23 minutes of the their game Thursday, but the Kings’ third goal 2:59 into the second period proved to be the game-winner and the night's final goal in their 3-2 win over Carolina.

Three Observations

1. With healthy scratch Alexander Semin and recent waiver claim Andrej Nestrasil both lurking as possibilities for Saturday’s game at Colorado, it was surprising that Carolina’s depth players didn't play with more of a stay-in-the-lineup urgency. Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk were non-factors, and Brad Malone registered more than twice as many penalty minutes (17) than actual time on ice (7:18). Both Semin and Nestrasil could find their way into the fold against the Avalanche.

2. For the second straight game, Cam Ward allowed at least three goals after having not allowing more than two in his previous seven outings. But once again, Ward wasn't to blame for the Hurricanes’ loss. Ward’s resurgence has been remarkable, and he continues to give Carolina a chance to win every night. But after five straight wins to start November, he has been saddled with a loss in three of his last four starts.

3. Nathan Gerbe had his best game in some time, registering an assist for the second straight outing. Gerbe's six shots on goal were the fourth time this season he has registered at least that many, but he is still stuck on one goal, having scored in the opener and not registered a goal in his 14 games played since. His current 2.1 percent shooting percentage screams that Gerbe will break through in a big way eventually, but he has still managed seven points so far this year and is currently on pace for 36 points. That would still match his career-high production from last season.

Number To Know

41:13 — Minutes until a Carolina defenseman registered a shot on goal. Andrej Sekera finally broke the ice with 18:47 left in the game, and the team’s blue line managed to finish with four shots on goal in the final period and for the game.

Plus

Eric Staal — Carolina’s captain was again a catalyst for the Hurricanes, scoring on the power play (his third goal in two games) and logging 20-plus minutes for the third straight game. Staal seems to be getting healthier and stronger as the season is going on, and it's starting to translate to points.

Minus

Justin Faulk — Faulk has been arguably Carolina’s best player the past 10 or so games, but he struggled Thursday against the Kings. It was the first game this season Faulk did not register a shot on goal — and he had been firing at will since he got out of his early season funk — and he had trouble handling the Kings forwards in front of Ward.