NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 4th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (25-17-10) at Carolina Hurricanes (19-25-9), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes may be tied for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference, but they showed again on Thursday that they can still hang with the best the NHL has to offer.
Hoping to win two in a row for just the second time in a little over a month, the Hurricanes welcome the Kings to town this evening following Los Angeles' disappointing offensive performance last night.
Carolina is tied for last in its conference along with Montreal with 47 points and has won back-to-back games just once, from Jan. 12-14, since late December. However, the Hurricanes recorded a four-game sweep of their season series with the defending Stanley Cup-champion Bruins, their first ever over the club, thanks to Thursday's 3-0 victory in Boston.
Cam Ward posted a season-high 47 saves for his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career. The former Conn Smythe Trophy winner set a franchise record for the most saves ever by a Carolina netminder in a shutout.
Overall, the Hurricanes outscored the Bruins 14-5 in the season sweep.
"When we play like that we are capable of beating very good teams," said Ward. "They are the Stanley Cup champions and have a very good team. They just seem to bring out the best in us."
Brandon Sutter had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who had lost four of six coming in. Tuomo Ruutu and Eric Staal also lit the lamp as Carolina played without Chad LaRose due to flu-like symptoms.
If he gets the start again tonight, Ward could be in for another solid outing given that the Kings rank last in the NHL with 2.12 goals per game. They have been shut out six times this season, including three straight by a 1-0 margin. That was the result on Friday in a meeting with the St. Louis Blues.
Jonathan Quick made 32 saves and allowed two goals or less for the 12th time in his past 14 starts, but he still took the loss after giving up the only goal of the game at the 8:38 mark of the season. Quick is tied for the most shutouts in the NHL with six and is among the league leaders with a 1.91 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, but holds a record of 22-13-9 in 44 games.
Los Angeles had a two-game win streak come to an end in the opener of a season-long six-game road trip.
"Down the stretch you see a lot of shootout games; a lot of overtime games, low-scoring games. Every point is so, so crucial," said Kings forward Jarret Stoll. "Being on the road we've got to find ways to simplify our game and give up a lot less and create more."
The Kings remained four points behind the Sharks for the top spot in the Pacific Division and sit seventh overall in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles has won three straight versus the Hurricanes, having not lost to the club since Feb. 13, 2007. The Kings snapped a four-game series winless streak (0-1-2 with a tie) with a 5-2 victory in the last meeting at Carolina on Nov. 11, 2009.
02/04 10:47:28 ET