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Canes blank Kings 2-0 in opener of California swing

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Petr Mrazek dazzles early and late in the Canes’ shutout win.

Carolina Hurricanes v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes touched down in the City of Angels and managed to come away with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings to begin their week-long California adventure. Petr Mrazek again got the job done in net, putting together a terrific performance in posting his 19th career shutout by stopping all 31 shots on the night. He was supported offensively by Martin Necas as the Canes improved to 6-1 on the young season. While the Canes did not generate a wealth of scoring chances, they did exhibit terrific defensive structure, particularly in five-on-five play, limiting the quality looks that the Kings could generate all evening.

Early on, the Canes dealt with significant penalty trouble as Ryan Dzingel (slash) and Brock McGinn (interference) each spent time in the box within the first ten minutes of action. Mrazek withstood a barrage of shots in that early going, including a tough pad save against Jeff Carter on the doorstep during the Dzingel minor. As the period wore on, the Canes gained their footing and received a few power play opportunities of their own. While the top unit struggled to get going, the second man advantage resulted in a wonderful opportunity in front for Jordan Staal, who had his backhand thwarted by Jack Campbell in net for the Kings.

As the second period began, the Canes exerted their influence on the game and finally broke the ice when Dzingel settled behind the Kings net, only to find Necas streaking to the front of the net, where he potted the first goal of the evening to give the Canes a 1-0 lead, which turned out to be all they would need on the night.

The Canes would come close a few more times in the period, but a crucial moment in the second period came when Lucas Wallmark entered the penalty box, moments after officials missed a “closing the hand on the puck” call against the Kings. The Kings looked to take advantage of the power play, but a tight Canes PK held their ground, and Sebastian Aho effectively killed the penalty by drawing an interference call against Drew Doughty just 1:03 into the PK.

While the Kings did not threaten often in the second period, the Canes entered the third period with the game very much in doubt as they continued to cling to a 1-0 advantage. The early portion of the third was similar to the second period in that the Kings continued to struggle in creating quality offensive chances in five-on-five action.

As the time continued to melt away, the Kings put together a push that culminated in a powerplay with just 5:48 remaining. The Canes PK answered in the same manner as they had all night, blocking shots and clearing the zone with tremendous efficiency. As the Kings desperation grew deeper, Jordan Staal was penalized deep in the defensive zone for a hit on Doughty with just 1:14 remaining. However, Mrazek and the Canes again proved up to the test, and the game was ultimately salted away as a relatively quiet night from Teuvo Teravainen finished strong with an empty net goal to finish the scoring at 2-0 with just six seconds remaining.

The Kings were able to claim a 31-23 advantage in shots on goal, but came away empty in their five power play opportunities. The Hurricanes will be right back at it again late tonight as they swing up the coast to San Jose to take on the Sharks.