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Carolina Hurricanes @ Los Angeles Kings: Game Preview

The Hurricanes head to LA for the first time since 2019.

Carolina Hurricanes v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Heading west means facing a team who the Hurricanes haven’t played in more than a year, thanks to last season’s temporary realignment. The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t faced the Los Angeles Kings in LA since October 15, 2019. And the last time the teams played at all was in Raleigh on January 11, 2020, which turned into a 2-0 win for the Hurricanes. (Oddly enough, both Kings/Hurricanes games that season were 2-0 wins for the Hurricanes.)

Lots of things have changed for both teams in that time. The Kings have moved on from most of their Stanley Cup-winning core, with only Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick remaining. Some of the Kings most highly touted prospects are starting to make an impact at the NHL level, with players like Arthur Kaliyev and Rasmus Kupari becoming regulars this year.

Of course, nothing comes easily in this league, and the Kings have already faced their fair share of adversity. Top prospect Quinton Byfield, set to make the opening night roster, broke his ankle in the team’s final pre-season game. Defenseman Drew Doughty and Sean Walker both suffered knee injuries early on; Doughty is still several weeks out from a return, and Walker is out for the season. After a thrilling win in their season opener against Vegas, the team proceeded to go on a six-game losing streak.

But hockey’s a funny sport; suddenly all of the new players on the roster started clicking at the same time and the Kings surged to a seven-game winning streak. That led people to ask: are the Kings good? And the answer is, well, that no one quite knows for sure.

The Hurricanes will provide a tough test — the speed of the visiting team, the superior special teams, and a vintage performance from Freddie Andersen will definitely give the Hurricanes the edge.

Before the game starts, let’s see how the two teams match up:

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Sabres
Category Hurricanes Sabres
Record 15-6-1 8-12-3
Goals/Game 3.14 2.91
Goals Against/Game 2.27 3.65
Shots/Game 33.68 29.13
Face Off Win % 53.7% 45.6%
Power Play % (Rank) 18.9% (15th) 20.0% (13th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 88.1% (3rd) 78.3% (24th)
ES Corsi For % 55.98% 48.32%
ES PDO 101.24 99.60
PIM/Game 09:16 07:21

Goaltender #1

Category Frederik Andersen Craig Anderson
Category Frederik Andersen Craig Anderson
Record 11-5-0 4-2-0
Save % .928 .921
GAA 2.05 2.49

Goaltender #2

Category Antti Raanta Dustin Tokarski
Category Antti Raanta Dustin Tokarski
Record 3-1-1 4-5-3
Save % .894 .903
GAA 2.49 3.28

Game Notes

  • The Kings called up defenseman Sean Durzi on Friday. No indication yet if he’ll play, but his 13 points and five goals were tops among all active AHL defensemen.
  • In the absence of Doughty and Walker, defenseman Kale Clague has stepped up and impressed, now that he’s finally been given the opportunity to play bigger minutes. Nearly everyone had expected Seattle to select him in the expansion draft; instead, he’s now quarterbacking the first power play unit for the Kings.
  • The Kings are led in scoring by Anze Kopitar, who has 16 points in 16 games. The captain has cooled off lately, but hot on his heels is underappreciated forward Alex Iafallo, who’s finding his offense to go along with his strong defensive instincts.
  • These two teams don’t face each other that often, but several Hurricanes have found their scoring touch against the Kings. Sebastian Aho has six points in eight games. Teuvo Teravainen, who saw his share of the Kings when he still played in the Western Conference, has 13 points in 13 games. Freddie Andersen is no stranger to the Kings, either; he’s 8-1-3 in his career against the, with a .935 save percentage.
  • Speaking of Teravainen, this will be his 350th regular season NHL game with the Hurricanes. He’s played 464 overall.
  • Seth Jarvis will play his ninth NHL game; if he continues to play after this (which he very much should), the first year of his entry level contract will officially be activated.