A three-goal deficit proved to be a bit too much for the Kings to overcome in their 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes grabbed a three-goal lead less than 25 minutes into the game, when Brett Pesce scored his first NHL goal in the first, and Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk found the net with two additional markers in the opening minutes of the second.
Dustin Brown was awarded a penalty shot with seven minutes left to play in the second period when Carolina’s Noah Hanifin covered a puck with his glove in the Hurricanes’ crease.
Brown’s penalty shot, the 56th in Kings history, saw him beat Carolina’s Cam Ward with a shot high above the glove side. For Brown, it was his second goal of the season, and his first in five games.
A mere :58 seconds after Brown’s goal, Anze Kopitar
struck to inch the Kings to within a goal.
After some heavy forechecking by Milan Lucic, Kopitar intercepted a Carolina clearing pass, walked in with a few strides, and fired a wrist shot that beat Cam Ward high to the blocker side, off the post and in.
Penalty trouble hindered the Kings once again after Kopitar’s goal, and the Hurricanes pounced, Justin Faulk scoring his second power play goal of the game, an unfortunate one for the Kings, bouncing off of Alec Martinez
’s skate and into the net to give Carolina a 4-2 lead.
The Kings granted the Hurricanes six power plays on the afternoon, including two bouts of 5-on-3 opportunities. Through the first three games of their current road trip, the Kings have taken 16 penalties, surrendering four goals during those situations.
Jonathan Quick was pulled in favor of Jhonas Enroth after the second period. Quick made 17 saves on 21 shots faced.
Anze Kopitar scored his second goal of the afternoon midway through the third, bringing the Kings back to within a goal with 10:45 left in regulation.
While working on their second power play, Jake Muzzin fed Kopitar a cross-ice pass from atop Carolina’s zone. Kopitar, winding up for a one-time slap shot, buried his shot off the post and past Ward.
The Kings were unable to bury an equalizer; Jhonas Enroth
stopped all eight shots he faced in the third.
Anze Kopitar (2G) led all Kings players in points scored (2), four players in shots taken (3), Dustin Brown in hits delivered (6), Drew Doughty in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:50). Jonathan Quick made 17 saves in the loss, Jhonas Enroth 8.
The Kings will continue their five-game road trip Monday evening when they take on the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center, with the puck scheduled to drop just after 4:30PM PST.