Jonathan Quick is no stranger to shutouts, and the Canes are certainly no strangers to scoring woes.
Both outcomes came to fruition on Sunday night in Los Angeles. With about two minutes left in regulation, Alec Martinez netted a game-winning goal to power a 2-0 Kings win as Quick celebrated career shutout No. 50.
It soured a great night in net for Petr Mrazek, whose name was lost in the noise of the Curtis McElhinney and Scott Darling news over the past few weeks.
The Hurricanes and Kings nearly lulled viewers to sleep in the final two periods, but off an offensive zone faceoff, the Kings produced the decisive shot at the net as Martinez powered past Brock McGinn, who broke his stick in frustration.
Offensively, Carolina’s lines played a fairly stale game, highlighted by great chances early that waned over time. The Canes appeared to have an easy way to finally break the ice with 1:31 of 5-on-3 time midway through the third, but Quick came up with save after save to fluster the shooters.
But in the first period, nearly every line for Carolina saw chances — Jordan Staal with a rebound early in the frame, McGinn out front to receive a behind-the-net pass from Justin Williams at the midway point, etc. Arguably the best chance of the period for the Canes came in the final seconds, as Lucas Wallmark patiently skated (perhaps a second too long) to the side of the net from close range, but Quick robbed him with a save off his far-side pad.
Mrazek made some potentially game-changing saves in the opening stretch, including a rob of Jeff Carter on a quick redirection attempt from just a foot away. Later in the period, Mrazek also made a heads-up glove save on a breakaway for Tyler Toffoli.
The Canes got a little frisky after dark early in the second period when Williams decided to rough it up a little with his old teammates, but he was called for goalie interference on the play before the action. It was the first of three penalties against Carolina in the second period, but despite the frequent shorthandedness, the penalty kill came in strong time and time again, allowing only a few dangerous chances, most of which came when McGinn, a top penalty killer, was in the box late in the frame.
However, the Canes got virtually nothing going in the second. The TSA line had a good chance to produce a goal on a nearly 3-on-1 breakaway, but Derek Forbort held Teuvo Teravainen to stymie the threat, and as has been the case much of the season, the power play was the opposite of lethal.
The 5-on-3 was the only real threat in the third period, though Staal and Sebastian Aho both had great chances from close range in the period as well. But the scoring touch just didn’t come for the Canes, and they’ll have to head to San Jose to face a strong Sharks team with no points to build confidence from.
Mrazek went 33-for-34 on the night and kept his team in it for virtually the entire game. The Canes were outshot 35-34 and went 0-for-3 on the power play. Dougie Hamilton led the team in shots with six, and Staal and McGinn chipped in five each.