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Canes edge Kings, road struggles continue

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– The Kings’ road trip continues to be a difficult one, as they dropped their fourth straight game Sunday afternoon, losing 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

The Hurricanes, who came into the afternoon fresh off their first regular season win Friday night, came in sharp and confident, firing away for 32 shots, including 18 in the second period, where they produced two of their three goals.

For the Kings, today marked the ninth time in 12 games that they’ve allowed the opposition 30 shots or more, and the fourth straight game they’ve faced a deficit after the first period.

“We need to get back to getting a strong start, getting a lead instead of falling behind early,” Trevor Lewis said following the loss. “We just have to simplify things, get pucks in, throw everything at the net and get a good bounce. We just have to keep getting to the net and bear down.”

Carolina got on the board first with Victor Rask’s goal, the first of his NHL career, with less than two minutes to play in the first period. Rask, on a four-on-three sequence, snuck in undetected and poked home the first goal of the afternoon.

The Hurricanes got right back to work early in the second after Justin Williams was penalized for a hooking infraction a mere :25 seconds into the period. 25 seconds after Williams began serving his penalty, Carolina’s Chris Terry rocketed home the Hurricanes’ second goal of the afternoon on what was their first power play of the day.

The Kings would fight back just over five minutes after Carolina took a 2-0 lead when Mike Richards blasted home a one-time beauty past Cam Ward. It was Richards’ second goal of the season, and it came during the Kings’ second power play of the afternoon.

Youngster Elias Lindholm, who scored twice in the Hurricanes’ win against the Arizona Coyotes Friday night, buried Carolina’s third goal of the evening. Lindholm walked in from atop the right circle, shot the puck through Robyn Regehr and beat Jonathan Quick high to the top left corner.

The Kings entered the third period facing a 3-1 deficit; it was the fifth game this season that they entered the final period behind on the scoreboard.

With just over twelve minutes remaining in regulation time, Alec Martinez got the Kings to within a goal. Martinez, who was playing a Carolina clearing attempt along the right point, settled the puck down with his skates, and in one fluid motion, sent a wrist shot through traffic that beat Cam Ward low to the left side.

It was Martinez’s second goal of the season, and his second in as many games.

The Kings had a few solid opportunities to tie the game following Martinez’s marker, but couldn’t pull the trigger on a late power play, or manage any last-second luck with an empty net and an extra attacker

Justin Williams led all Kings skaters in shots (6), Matt Greene and Brayden McNabb in hits (4), Jake Muzzin in blocked shots (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (28:16). Jonathan Quick made 29 saves in the loss.

In their first games back from injury, Marian Gaborik registered one shot on goal in 13:49 of ice time, while Anze Kopitar chimed in with two shots, two hits, and one blocked shot in 19:25 of ice time.

The Kings are now 6-4-2 on the season and 0-3-1 on their current five-game road trip, which they’ll finish up Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The puck is slated to drop at 5:30PM PT.

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