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'Canes continue trip with a visit to L.A.

by John Kreiser

HURRICANES (3-2-0) at KINGS (3-1-0)

TV -- FS-Carolinas; FS-West

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the only time this season. Los Angeles won the only meeting last season, beating the Hurricanes 5-2 in Carolina on Nov. 11.

Big story -- Big things were expected of the Kings this season after their improvement in 2009-10 -- and so far, they're delivering. Though L.A. has scored just 10 goals, the Kings are 3-1-0 because they've allowed only 6 goals -- and just three at even strength.

Team Scope:

Hurricanes -- What a difference a day off makes. After looking tired in Sunday's 5-1 loss at Vancouver, the 'Canes followed an off-day Monday with a solid 5-2 victory at San Jose the next night. Chad LaRose had a goal and a pair of assists, four other players scored and Cam Ward stopped 41 shots.

"We did things a lot better than our last time out," coach Paul Maurice said. "We kept the puck moving forward and when we did have a breakdown we got great goaltending."

Kings -- With the team in the midst of a light schedule -- this is only their third game in 10 days -- coach Terry Murray hasn't had much chance to use backup Jonathan Bernier, regarded by many as the starting goaltender-in-waiting. But with the schedule about to get busy, Murray will use Bernier tonight and No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick on Thursday in Phoenix.

But Murray has left no doubt who's the starter.

"I've had meetings with the goaltenders about that, and I've certainly been talking about it quite a bit," he told the team's website. "The comfort, for me, is that Jonathan Bernier knows that Quick is the No. 1 guy. They're here to work together, to play for the L.A. Kings and help us win hockey games. So there's a clear understanding on that, and as we move forward, it's going to be Quick playing the majority of the games."

Who's hot -- Quick has allowed just three goals while going 3-0-0 to start the season. Kings captain Dustin Brown is coming off a two-goal game against the Canucks and leads the team with 3. Ryan Smyth is 2-3-5 in his last two games.

Injury report -- The Hurricanes may be road-weary, but they are healthy. … Kings defenseman Matt Greene, who has yet to play due to a shoulder operation, is hoping a medical check will clear him for contact. Scott Parse (groin) skated during Wednesday's morning practice and will accompany the Kings on their trip, practicing as his health permits.

Stat pack -- The Kings are trying to open their season with three consecutive home victories for the first time since 2005-06.

Puck drop -- After this game, the Hurricanes have two days off before they finish their marathon trip with a game at Phoenix on Saturday -- completing a swing that has taken them to Helsinki, Ottawa, Vancouver, San Jose and L.A. They finally get to play their home opener next Wednesday against Washington after going nearly 15,000 miles.

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