The Carolina Hurricanes scored an important 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings as the Hurricanes improved to 27-29-9 on the season for a total of 63 points. The victory, which was the team’s second on this four-game road swing, moved Carolina within two points of the New York Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have played 65 games. Carolina has won five of the team’s past seven road games and is now 13-16-5 on the road overall.
The stars of the game for Carolina included Gary Roberts, who scored two goals and added an assist in the win, and Sami Kapanen, who had three points on the night, including the game’s first goal and two assists. Arturs Irbe rebounded from being relieved in Phoenix by making 30 saves to record his 24th victory of the season.
Carolina completes this crucial four-game trip at San Jose on Saturday night. The game will be broadcast over both the Hurricanes Television Network (HTS/Fox Sports South) and the Hurricanes Radio Network with game time starting at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Carolina is currently 2-1-0 on this trip. The Hurricanes will return home on Sunday and will play eight of their next 12 games at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Carolina’s next home game is Wednesday night against Chicago.
"We're fighting like cats and dogs right now trying to make the playoffs," Roberts said. "We're in a fight with half a dozen teams in our conference for two spots. So it's going to be a grind right down to the end."
Sami Kapanen opened the scoring with his team-high 21st goal of the season at 7:32 of the first period and that goal stood as the lone score after one period. With the score tied 1-1, Roberts gave Carolina a 2-1 lead on a 5-on-3 power play when he wristed a rebound of a Sean Hill slaphshot behind goaltender Stephane Fiset at 14:19 of the second period. Roberts increased Carolina’s advantage to 3-1 just 25 seconds into the second period with his 14th goal of the season, which matched his 1998-99 season total in goals.
Martin Gelinas made it 4-1 with his 13th goal on the year and the Hurricanes’ second power play goal of the night when he converted a Ron Francis' centering pass with 12:51 to play. Francis extended his point streak to three games (1g, 5a) with the assist. Meanwhile, Gelinas has registered 13 points (6g, 6a)in his last 17 games.
SummaryCarolina 1 1 3--5Los Angeles 0 1 1--2FIRST PERIOD -- Scoring: 1, Carolina, Kapanen 21 (Brind'amour), 7:32.Penalties: Irbe, Car served by Gelinas (Delay of game), 1:30; Karpa, Car(Obstr hooking), 13:05; Audette, L.A. (Ob holding the stick), 14:56.SECOND PERIOD -- Scoring: 2, Los Angeles, Robitaille 33 (Stumpel,Galley), 6:05. 3, Carolina, Roberts 13 (power play) (Hill, Kapanen),14:19. Penalties: G Murray, L.A. (tripping), 2:19; Oneill, Car (highsticking), 4:02; Karpa, Car (fighting major), 7:37; Laperriere, L.A.(fighting major), 7:37; Gelinas, Car (high sticking), 8:50; R Blake, L.A.(elbowing), 9:28; Smolinski, L.A. (roughing), 12:31; Galley, L.A. (Obstrholding), 14:13.THIRD PERIOD -- Scoring: 4, Carolina, Roberts 14 (Kapanen), 0:25. 5,Carolina, Gelinas 13 (power play) (Francis, Hill), 7:09. 6, Los Angeles, G Murray 23 (power play) (R Blake, Galley), 18:03. 7, Carolina, Brind'amour 8 (empty net) (Wesley, Roberts), 19:41. Penalties: Berg, L.A. (charging), 1:31; R Blake, L.A. ( double high sticking minor), 3:53; Gelinas, Car(interference), 4:57; Kron, Car (Obstr holding), 12:50; Gelinas, Car (Ob holding the stick), 16:21.Shots on goal:Carolina 4 15 8--27Los Angeles 10 11 11--32
Power-play Conversions: Car - 2 of 8, Los - 1 of 6. Goalies: Carolina,Irbe (32 shots, 30 saves; record: 24-22-8). Los Angeles, Fiset (26, 22;record: 16-15-5). A:15,424. Referee: Fraser. Linesmen: Gibbs, Lazarowich.