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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Los Angeles Kings

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

HURRICANES RETURN TO RALEIGH IN STYLE

By Paul Branecky

NEW UNIFORM PHOTO GALLERY

The Hurricanes were sporting a new look in practice Monday, and that wasn't even counting the noticeable return of 6'5 center Josef Vasicek.

As part of their league-wide tour, NHL officials stopped at the RecZone for a "fitting session" for the new jerseys and socks that all teams will wear beginning next season. Each player donned a blank version of the new form, which is more anatomically-correct and features increased water resistance, for the entirety of the practice.

The officials were there to get player input as they move forward with the design, and the reviews were all very good.

"It's like anything - technology moves forward," said Hurricanes winger Scott Walker. "Obviously we had great equipment before, but any time you can make it a little bit better, that's just going to help the quality of product on the ice, which is going to make the enjoyment for the fans better."

Although the jerseys and socks look tighter, they are made of an extremely stretchy material which is actually designed to allow more freedom of motion. In addition, the equipment is better ventilated so that players can stay cool - not that that was a problem in the frigid conditions of the RecZone.

Of all the new features, the most popular was the increased water resistance. Water poured on to one of the new jerseys simply beads off rather than soaking in, which will make the jerseys easier to carry at the end of games.

"You feel a lot lighter," said Walker. "In a game, you can get pretty heavy if you weigh yourself before with your gear on dry then weigh it after spraying a water bottle on your face and getting the snow and sweat in there. Any time you can get a little bit of water weight off our jerseys and socks, it will be a lot better."

The water resistance feature is especially good for goaltenders, as water from their bottles will not be soaked in to their jerseys the entire game. However, Cam Ward mentioned one issue unique to netminders concerning the new fit.

"My biggest concern was whether it was going to be too tight around the arms because it can make your seven-hole look a lot bigger underneath the armpits, but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated," he said. "Overall it was positive, it was a success."

The team will be back in their regular garb when they host the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at the RBC Center (7 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network, TICKETS). Although the Kings are dead last in the Western Conference and have the worst road record in the league, they feature a lot of young firepower and recently beat the best of the west, the Nashville Predators, 4-1 in Nashville Saturday night.

The Kings' top three scorers, Alexander Frolov, Michael Cammalleri and Anze Kopitar are just 24, 24 and 19, respectively. Kopitar, the first and only NHL player from Slovenia, is second among rookies to Pittsburgh dynamo Evgeni Malkin in nearly every offensive category.

Although the Hurricanes and Kings have little history with each other, that can actually add some extra motivation, said Ward.

"It's a little bit different in the sense that you rely on the coaching staff to get that video that you need to scout your opponent," he said. "But it should add to motivation to know that we only play them once a year and you've got to take advantage of that one game because you're not going to see them for another year."

The Kings' main problem this year has been the health of their goaltenders. They have played five different netminders this year, including the Japanese-born Yutaka Fukufuji. However, that position has been stablized in recent weeks as former Hurricane Sean Burke, who was rescued from the Tampa Bay Lightning's farm system last month, has turned in some solid performances.

KEN PRESTON

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Los Angeles Kings
Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center * Raleigh, NC
Hurricanes: 28-23-7 (63 pts.) 3rd Southeast Division
Kings:
19-30-9 (47 pts.), 5th Pacific Division

TOMORROW’S GAME
The Carolina Hurricanes return to Raleigh for a two-game home stand that begins Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings (7 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network). Carolina is coming off of a three-game road trip that saw the team go 2-1-0 in games at Montreal, Boston and Minnesota. Los Angeles is wrapping up a five-game road trip that has taken them to Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, Nashville and Carolina since Feb. 3. The Hurricanes (63 points) enter Tuesday’s game one point behind Tampa Bay for second place in the Southeast Division, with Atlanta leading the division with 69 points.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Head coach Peter Laviolette earned his 100th Hurricanes win, Feb. 8 at Boston
  • Right wing Justin Williams is two games shy of 400 for his NHL career
  • Captain Rod Brind’Amour is two goals shy of 400 for his NHL career

CURRENT STREAKS

  • Center Eric Staal has assists and points in each of the last four games (2/3-2/10: 1g, 6a)
  • Left wing Ray Whitney has assists and points in each of the last four games (2/3-2/10: 4g, 5a)
  • Captain Rod Brind’Amour has points in four straight games (2/3-2/10: 2g, 5a) and assists in three straight (2/6-2/10: 1g, 5a)
  • Right wing Justin Williams has goals and points in each of the last three games (2/6-2/10: 3g, 2a)

Television: No Carolina telecast (Los Angeles' FSN West telecast available via NHL Center Ice)

Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC… check listings for games), News Talk Radio WFNC 640 AM (Fayetteville, NC… Saturdays and Sundays)
Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com

CAROLINA NOTES

  • Hurricanes center Eric Staal has assists and points in each of the last four games (2/3-2/10: 1g, 6a), matching his season-long points streak, accomplished five other times this season. If Staal continues at his current pace (1.75 points per game), he will finish the season with 95 points, just five points shy of his team-best 100 points in 2005-06. Staal has points in eight of the Hurricanes’ last 10 games scoring five goals and earning nine assists (14 points) since Jan. 18.

  • Left wing Ray Whitney has earned points in 13 of Carolina’s last 15 games, scoring nine goals and earning 14 assists (23 points) dating back to Jan. 6. Whitney picked up multiple assists in four of those games, earning two helpers on Jan. 6 against the NY Islanders, Jan. 9 at Toronto and Feb. 8 at Boston, and three assists on Jan. 26 against Washington.

  • While the Hurricanes have won just three games in their last 10 outings, the team has won two of its last three games and earned points in 11 of its last 15 games, going 7-5-3 since Jan. 6, and earning 17 of a possible 30 points in that span.

  • The Kings have not scored a win at the RBC Center since Jan. 20, 2001, and post a 1-0-1-1 all-time record at the RBC Center. Eric Staal gave Carolina 3-2 overtime win in the teams’ last game in Raleigh with his first career overtime goal.

  • This season, Carolina’s penalty kill has gone 232-for-272 (85.3%) in 54 games with Rod Brind’Amour in the lineup. It went 17-for-27 (63.0%) in the four games Brind’Amour missed in December.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 14-10-4
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 14-13-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 53-of-332 (16.0%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 250-of-300 (83.3%)

INJURY REPORT

  • Winger Erik Cole, lower body, day-to-day, missed one game
  • Left wing Cory Stillman, knee, injured reserve, missed two games

HURRICANES PRACTICE SCHEDULE

DECEMBER
Practice Type
Time
Location
Tues., Feb. 13
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Feb. 14
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Thurs., Feb. 15
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Fri., Feb. 16
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Sat., Feb. 17
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
Bell Centre, Montreal
Sun., Feb. 18
Off
-
-
Mon., Feb. 19
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Tues., Feb. 20
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Feb. 21
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Thurs., Feb. 22
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Fri., Feb. 23
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Sat., Feb. 24
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
Philips Arena, Atlanta
Sun., Feb. 25
Team Practice
12:00 p.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Mon., Feb. 26
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Tues., Feb. 27
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Feb. 28
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
ScotiaBank Place, Ottawa

*All times are local… Times and locations subject to change

AGAINST THE KINGS
Tuesday marks the lone meeting between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Los Angeles Kings this season, and the first time the teams have met since the trade that brought Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger to Carolina in exchange for Oleg Tverdovsky and the rights to defenseman Jack Johnson. The teams last met on Dec. 8, 2005, at the Staples Center, with the Hurricanes scoring a 3-2 road win. Erik Cole notched two goals in that contest to lead Carolina while Belanger and Jeff Cowan scored Los Angeles’ goals. The Hurricanes franchise posts a 25-28-8 all-time record against the Kings, with a 15-11-5 home record and a 10-17-3 record in Los Angeles.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

CAROLINA HURRICANES
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Skaters
GP
G
A
PTS
Whitney
58
25
42
67
Brind'Amour
54
16
46
62
Williams
58
29
25
54
Skaters
GP
G
A
PTS
Frolov
58
29
28
57
Cammalleri
57
23
32
55
Kopitar
58
16
34
50
Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
Ward
45
2.93
23-14-6
.898
Grahame
16
3.10
5-9-1
.891
Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
Garon
21
2.85
8-7-4
.901
Burke
8
2.17
3-3-2
.932
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