LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – The Carolina Hurricanes lost 3-2 to the defending Stanley-Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday.
Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner scored for Carolina while goaltender Cam Ward made 36 saves in the losing effort that split the two teams’ season series after the Hurricanes claimed a 3-2 win in Raleigh back on Nov. 2.
Coming off a 6-4 win over Dallas on Tuesday, the Hurricanes couldn’t net the equalizer as Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick denied any such opportunities late in the game as part of a 25-save performance.
Falling behind 1-0 on a Jarrett Stoll power play goal, Skinner’s fifth of the season tied it up for Carolina during an opening period in which the Kings outshot the Hurricanes 12-5.
Los Angeles retook the lead 37 seconds into the second before Staal’s goal on the power play, his 700th career NHL point, tied it up 2-2 at the 2:21 mark.
The Kings quickly responded as Tanner Pearson scored the eventual game-winner 38 seconds later.
Finishing 1-for-4 on the power play, and as hard as they worked to tie the game for the remainder of the middle period, the Hurricanes couldn’t finish on any further opportunities at even-strength.
While narrowly outshooting Los Angeles 11-9 during the final 20 minutes of play, it was Quick who made several key stops, including a glove save on Elias Lindholm during the final minute of play that capped off the win for the defending champs.
“I think they started better than we did,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said.
“I don’t think we were as good at the beginning of the game and they were able to build a lead, and then played well to protect it in the third.”