LOS ANGELES - It took nearly 60 minutes to find the game's first goal, and unfortunately it didn't go the Carolina Hurricanes' way, as they were edged, 2-0, by the Los Angeles Kings.
Alec Martinez broke the scoreless deadlock with just 2:13 left in regulation, and Jonathan Quick made 34 saves in his first shutout of the season.
Here are five takeaways from tonight's game.
It looked as though this game this game, scoreless for 57 minutes and change, was going to take at least overtime to decide a winner.
Petr Mrazek and Jonathan Quick were matching each other save for save at either end of the ice, neither team able to break through.
Video: CAR@LAK: Mrazek turns aside Carter's redirect
"Both teams were fighting hard," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Both goalies played very, very well."
Then, off an offensive zone faceoff win, Martinez streaked toward the net and scored on a quick-hitter from Jake Muzzin.
And that was the difference.
"Unfortunately, we took a breath at the end, and it cost us," Brind'Amour said. "We can't keep doing this."
"Obviously not the result we wanted. We were really close to overtime. We had some good looks," Mrazek said. "It wasn't enough."
With the Canes leading the Ducks 1-0 on Friday, their power play had chances to make a difference and stretch the lead but instead went 0-for-6. Tonight, in scoreless hockey game in the third period, the Canes had 91 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage but came up empty again. Quick denied Jordan Staal in the slot, and he slid across the crease to kick out a Sebastian Aho one-timer that didn't have enough juice behind it.
Their failure to convert there, of course, was their downfall offensively.
"We had some shots. They had some good blocks," Justin Williams said. "The goalie made a few saves. Scoring goals is not something you can teach. It's just something you know how to do. The guys out there know how to do it, but we didn't get it done."
"You've got to score there," Brind'Amour said. "The power play guys have not been good lately, and that's been the difference, really. The margin is tight, and we needed a goal there."
The larger issue of the Hurricanes' offense (or lack thereof) is going to be something they'll need to rectify sooner rather than later if they want to make this road trip a successful one. The Canes have managed just a goal in their last two games in the absence of leading goal scorer Micheal Ferland (concussion).
"We've got to find a way to get it in there," Brind'Amour said. "We needed someone to make a play and put it in the net. We're not getting that right now."
Mrazek's last start came just over a month ago on Nov. 2 before he was sidelined for a few weeks with a lower-body injury. Before departing for Los Angeles, Brind'Amour discussed wanting to get Mrazek back in the crease.
"You can't let him sit too, too long," he said on Saturday. "I think Mac needs a mental break. It's not so much the physical stuff. Getting up for every game is hard. I think we'll get him in."
So, it was the first game of this three-game trip that Mrazek got the nod, and he responded with a sharp, 33-save performance, worthy of the game's second star. Among his highlights were a pair of stops on Jeff Carter, one in the first period and another in the third, as the veteran center had looks in the slot. Mrazek also stoned Tyler Toffoli's breakaway bid with a glove save in the first period.
Video: CAR@LAK: Mrazek shuts down Toffoli's breakaway bid
"He kept us in there and made some big saves," Brind'Amour said.
"He played phenomenal. He was excited," Williams said. "It seemed like he was zoned in, reading the puck very well, reading the play very well. He looked great."
The penalty kill, which came into tonight's game ranked 11th on the road (81.3 percent) and 23rd overall (77.3 percent), got a workout, especially in the second period. The Canes successfully dispatched three penalties, and three of the four total Canes penalties were assessed to key killers.
"We were really sharp on the penalty kill," Mrazek said. "They pushed a lot of guys away from the crease so I could see the puck."
The Hurricanes will square up against the Sharks in San Jose on Wednesday.
"The record, at the end of the day, is what we're getting judged by," Brind'Amour said. "t's not the quality of play or whatever. You're going to get judged by wins and losses. We've got to find ways to get the wins."