RALEIGH The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup two seasons ago with a bruising style of hockey and the ability to win road games.
The Kings still have several key players from that Cup team, and still play that kind of physical of game. They’re still tough on the road, as the Carolina Hurricanes learned Friday at PNC Arena.
It took a shootout to decide it as the Kings won 2-1. Jeff Carter had the only shootout score as Kings goalie Jonathan Quick stopped Jeff Skinner, Alexander Semin and Nathan Gerbe.
For three periods and then into overtime, the game belonged to the two goalies – the Canes’ Cam Ward and Quick. Ward had 37 saves and Quick 28.
The Kings, overtime winners in their last game Wednesday at Ottawa, broke through with a shorthanded score by forward Dwight King for a 1-0 lead in the third period.
But it didn’t last as Skinner scored on the power play 40 seconds later for a 1-1 tie. It was Skinner’s first goal of the season.
Skinner scored after defenseman Andrej Sekera fired a shot from the point. Quick made the stop, but Skinner was there to pop in the rebound with five minutes, 54 seconds left in regulation.
Quick had played 290 NHL games but had never been in net against the Canes. Add Ward to the mix Friday and it was two goalies who had won Conn Smythe trophies – Ward in the Canes’ 2006 Cup run and Quick in 2012.
Ward may have been feeling a bit of pressure Friday, and not just because Quick was in the other net. The Canes were playing a night after a 3-2 comeback road win over the Washington Capitals, with goaltender Anton Khudobin again turning in a strong performance.
Ward had 21 saves after the first two periods, twice denying Kings star Anze Kopitar with almost 14 minutes left in the second.
Quick, who could be the starter for the U.S. Olympic team in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, was tested in the second period on a two-on-one rush. Eric Staal’s pass hit Semin in the skates and Quick was able to easily stop Semin’s attempt.
About 30 seconds later, Nathan Gerbe was in position to give the Canes the lead. But Gerbe, who scored the game winner against the Caps, couldn’t corral a bouncing puck on a rebound of a Patrick Dwyer shot. The Canes had a power play late in the second but Quick had a couple of saves and the Kings aggressively killed it off.
The Canes had two players leave the ice with apparent shoulder injuries in the first – Justin Faulk and Elias Lindholm. Both returned in the first, but Lindholm, who was centering the third line Friday, was hit hard again in the second period and was out the remainder of the game.
With Lindholm out of the game, Skinner was moved to center on the third line. Brett Sutter, the son of Kings coach Darryl Sutter, moved up to third-line winger.
Lindholm scored his first NHL goal against the Caps and had one of the Canes’ best chances in the first. Taking a pass from Skinner in the low slot, Lindholm got off a shot but Quick, on his belly, stuck out his glove to make the stop with less tan three minutes left.
Both teams had power plays in the first. Gerbe got off a heavy shot on the Canes’ power play, and Quick was forced to make a key save on the Kings’ power play when Jordan Staal ripped a shot on a two-on-one shorthanded rush.
The Canes’ Kevin Westgarth and Mike Komisarek both made their first starts of the season after being healthy scratches the first four games. Westgarth is a former Kings forward.
Komisarek provided some big hits for the Canes, once flipping King with a clean hip-check in the neutral zone. Defenseman Ryan Murphy and forward Riley Nash were healthy scratches for the Canes, who host the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday.
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