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Recap: Hurricanes Shut Out 3-0 by Kings; Assign Lack, Leighton to Charlotte (Rank ‘em)

The Canes will have plenty to think about over the next four days after they were shut out for the first time in more than a year.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Hurricanes head in to the All Star Break with a lot to think about as they lose Thursday’s match-up against the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 3-0. Thursday night’s loss was the first time the Hurricanes have been shut out since January 17, 2016. The Hurricanes have lost five straight games and now sit five points back of the second wild card spot.

The first period was uneventful and slow. The Kings outshot the Hurricanes 8-7 in the first with Peter Budaj making key saves early to thwart any chance of the Hurricanes generating momentum. The game remained scoreless going in to the first intermission. The second period was an even affair, with the shots even at 9-9 with both goalies making good saves to keep their respective teams in the game.

The third period would end unfortunately for the Hurricanes. Marian Gaborik broke the scoreless tie with his fifth goal of the season at the 15:17 mark of the third period. Trevor Lewis scored his seventh goal of the season just 38 seconds later to give the Kings the 2-0 advantage. Kyle Clifford would add an empty netter at the 17:36 mark of the third to secure the victory for the Kings.

Cam Ward stopped 26 of 28 shots and Peter Budaj stopped all 22 shots he faced. The Kings improved to 24-21-4 and now currently sit in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Hurricanes’ lack of offense and suddenly poor play on home ice have cost them a stretch of games in which they badly needed wins. Poor play against division opponents have left the Hurricanes in a tough spot as the schedule heads into February. A season-high five game losing streak has left them with plenty of work to do to get back into the playoff conversation.

Tonight’s matchup was the final of two meetings between the Kings and Hurricanes this season, each team winning on the road. The Hurricanes’ next game will be at home on Tuesday, January 31st against the Philadelphia Flyers at the conclusion of All-Star Weekend.

Following the game, the Canes activated Eddie Lack from injured reserve and assigned both him and Michael Leighton to the Charlotte Checkers. Lack will be in Charlotte for games Friday and Saturday to get some game action in his recovery from a concussion, and he is likely to return to Raleigh after the All-Star weekend in time for the Canes’ matchup with the Flyers next Tuesday.

Leighton, meanwhile, was selected an AHL All-Star and will participate in that league’s festivities in Allentown, Pa., on Sunday and Monday.

The release from the team is below.

Lack activated from injured reserve, will begin conditioning stint

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has activated goaltender Eddie Lack from injured reserve, and assigned him to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) for a conditioning stint. The Hurricanes have also assigned goaltender Michael Leighton to the Checkers.

Lack, 29, has missed 26 of the last 30 games due to a concussion. The Norrtälje, Sweden, native is 1-2-1 with a 3.78 goals-against average in five games for the Hurricanes this season. Lack has appeared in 121 career NHL games with Vancouver and Carolina, going 47-46-16 with a 2.59 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

Leighton, 35, is 2-2-0 with a 3.43 goals-against average for the Hurricanes this season, and will participate in the AHL’s All-Star Classic in Allentown, PA, this weekend. The Petrolia, Ont., native ranks tied for 11th among AHL goaltenders this season in goals-against average (2.32) and 12th in save percentage (.918), earning an 8-6-3 record for Charlotte. In 110 career NHL regular-season games, Leighton (6’3”, 186 lbs.) has compiled a 37-43-14 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage with Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia and Carolina.

Rank the Performances

Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.