Kings at Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes sit in playoff position with about two months left and look to finish their monster eight-game homestand in a positive fashion when the Los Angeles Kings pay a visit Tuesday night. The Hurricanes have won the last two contests and are 4-2-1 during their stretch at PNC Arena as they try to snap an eight-year postseason drought for the franchise.
“I’d rather be playing well and not care if I’m in by one or out by two or (having) games in hand,” Carolina coach Bill Peters told reporters after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Colorado. “I’d rather be playing well and building toward something, and that’s what we’re doing.” The Hurricanes have at least a point in six of the last eight games (5-2-1) and will get a test against the physical Kings, who are 1-1-0 on a seven-game road trip with wins in five of the past seven outings. Los Angeles had a 20-4 edge in shots and scored twice in the third period before falling 4-3 at NHL-best Tampa Bay on Saturday for one of those losses. “We were in their zone, we were shooting pucks, we were getting to loose pucks after our initial shots and creating off those,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar told reporters after the setback. “We should be very pleased with our third period and hopefully we can carry that over to the next game.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS West (Los Angeles), FS Carolinas
ABOUT THE KINGS (30-20-5): Kopitar was robbed of a goal by Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy at the buzzer Saturday, but still increased his point streak to four games in which he boasts three goals and three assists. Kopitar tops the team in goals (22) and points (59) while defenseman Drew Doughty is a distant second on the team with 39 points, including nine in the last nine contests. Los Angeles won’t have its third-leading scorer Tuesday as Dustin Brown (16 goals, 38 points) was suspended one game for his kneeing penalty in Saturday’s contest.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (26-21-9): Forward Brock McGinn scored twice in Saturday’s win to reach double figures for the first time in his career and left wing Jeff Skinner told reporters: “(McGinn) brings a lot of energy and he’s got a ton of skill, too. That’s a nice combination.” Sebastian Aho tops the team with 20 goals and 43 points - one point better than fellow forward Teuvo Teravainen, who is mired in a seven-game goal drought. Goalie Cam Ward (16-7-3, .913 save percentage) stopped 29 of 30 shots Saturday and is 4-1-1 in his last six decisions.
1. The Kings are 8-for-27 with the man advantage the last nine games and Carolina has killed all 17 power plays in its past seven contests.
2. The Hurricanes outshot Los Angeles 34-21, but dropped a 3-2 decision Dec. 9 against the Kings on Tanner Pearson’s overtime goal.
3. Los Angeles F Trevor Lewis (13 goals, 24 points) missed the last game with an upper-body injury and is questionable for Tuesday’s contest.