The Los Angeles Kings are still searching for consistency this season. Finding a way to beat the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night would be a good start.
The Kings have lost five straight against Carolina, getting outscored 20-6 with two shutouts in those games. Los Angeles hasn’t defeated the Hurricanes since Dec. 2, 2018.
The Kings found some satisfaction in a 5-3 win against the visiting Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, but they need to avoid the type of setback they experienced on Tuesday, when they lost 9-8 in overtime to the visiting Seattle Kraken.
That caused some reshuffling on the Los Angeles roster, including putting goalie Cal Petersen on waivers.
“The input into the game is really important,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Our input has been good and then it wavers and then it falls off and then it comes back to good. We’re a little bit like a yo-yo.”
The Hurricanes have recently displayed the type of consistency McLellan aspires to see with his club.
Carolina has won three in a row following a five-game losing streak, with four of those defeats going to overtime.
The Hurricanes beat the St. Louis Blues 6-4 on Thursday night behind the second NHL hat trick from Jordan Martinook and the fourth so far this season for Carolina, which is more than it had the previous three seasons combined.
Carolina is also just the fifth NHL team since the 1996-97 season to produce four hat tricks through the first 24 games, joining the Kings in 2005-06, the Coyotes in 2010-11, the Winnipeg Jets in 2018-19 and the Nashville Predators in 2018-19.
Carolina forward Jordan Staal said the Hurricanes played one of their better games at even strength against St. Louis
“We just stuck with our game and stayed with what we do best,” Staal said. “We ended up getting rewarded for it.”
Carolina continues to receive better-than-expected production from right wing Andrei Svechnikov, who has 14 goals in 24 games, putting him on pace to surpass his NHL career high of 30 goals in 78 games last season.
Martin Necas has 11 goals in 24 games, five shy of his career high set over 64 games in the 2019-20 season.
Carolina could be close to getting right wing Teuvo Teravainen back from an upper-body injury as well. He has missed the past 10 games, but coach Rod Brind’Amour said Teravainen should return “hopefully real soon.”
Teravainen scored 22 goals in 77 games for the Hurricanes last season, but has yet to score in his first 14 games this season.
The Kings have been receiving excellent play from their top line of Anze Kopitar, Kevin Fiala and Adrian Kempe.
Kopitar scored two goals in the win against Arizona and Fiala had a goal and an assist to increase his team lead to 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists)
“I thought our line, throughout the last five or six games, we’ve been creating quite a few chances, just not necessarily cashing in on a whole lot of them,” Kopitar said. “(Thursday) night, it kind of opened up, and we’re going to need more of the same going forward.”
McLellan said he sees the chemistry developing between Kopitar, Kempe and Fiala, who came over from the Minnesota Wild in the offseason.
“This second go-around with Kevin there I think is starting to feel more comfortable for the three of them,” McLellan said.
–Field Level Media