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Hurricanes hold on to beat Kings

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Chris Terry has been biding his time, putting up 60-point seasons in the American Hockey League. There have been questions about his speed and size, but he has labored on, doing what he can to get noticed in the NHL.

He got his share of attention Sunday, setting up a goal with a quick touch pass and then firing a one-timer on the power play for his fourth goal of the season in Carolina's 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings at PNC Arena.

"It adds fuel to the fire, I think," Terry said of the questions he's faced. "Whether you come right out of junior and you start here, or in my case, I've taken a little longer to season. Hearing those things adds motivation to complete your game and show that you're not just a one-dimensional player."

Terry has four goals and seven points through 10 games, making the best of an early-season stint in the NHL earned after a wave of Carolina injuries. At 25, he has five AHL seasons under his belt and a well-deserved reputation for a hard, accurate shot. The trick now is to make it work every day in the NHL.

"Coming into training camp, I had one purpose: I wanted to be a full-time NHL player," said Terry, who was the 132nd player selected in the 2007 NHL Draft. "It's a process. We're 10 games in. I'm not going to say it's a lock right now. I just have to keep getting better every day, just as the team is getting better every day."

Carolina's improvement is just as noteworthy, even if most of the good signs have occurred in roughly 24 hours. The Hurricanes defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on Saturday night for their first win of the season before upending the defending Stanley Cup champions. The back-to-back wins are helping the Hurricanes put their 0-6-2 start in the rear-view mirror.

"I liked the look tonight for sure," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "I thought we started on time again and played with tempo through 40 [minutes]. I give Los Angeles credit. They came hard in the third. Then back-to-back, we might have tapered off a little bit, but I liked our effort and intensity."

Hurricanes forward Victor Rask started the scoring late in the first period with his first NHL goal. Zach Boychuk carried the puck down the right wing before centering to Terry, who slid a pass to Rask for an uncontested tap-in at the top of the crease. Rask had been without a point through nine games to start the season.

"It's a nice feeling, one of the best feelings in the world I guess," Rask said of his first goal. "It's nice to get on the board early and get a 1-0 lead."

Terry made it 2-0 with a power-play goal 50 seconds into the second period. He took a pass from defenseman Andrej Sekera and fired a shot from the right circle before Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick could get across the crease.

The Kings countered with a power-play goal of their own at 5:39. Sharp passes from Justin Williams and Drew Doughty set up a one-timer from the slot for Mike Richards, cutting the lead to 2-1.

Elias Lindholm, who scored twice on Saturday night, put Carolina ahead 3-1 at 16:01 after taking a pass from Gerbe on the rush. Lindholm's shot from the right circle caught a piece of defenseman Robyn Regehr's stick and found the net inside the left post.

The Kings pushed back in the third period and cut the lead to 3-2 when defenseman Alec Martinez gathered a turnover at the right point and sent a shot through traffic at 7:58. But Cam Ward, who stopped 30 shots, was sharp in the final minutes, saving his best for Anze Kopitar's bid from the right post in the final minutes.

"When I think about the chances they get, we're not giving up those odd-man rushes like we were giving up in the first few games," Ward said. "I find I play my best when I'm calm out there and relaxed. I've been able to take a couple of deep breaths here and there when I need it."

Los Angeles had Kopitar and linemate Marian Gaborik back in the lineup after missing three and eight games, respectively, with upper-body injuries, but the Kings (6-4-2) fell to 0-3-1 on their five-game road trip, which ends Tuesday against the Dallas Stars.

"I thought (Kopitar) had his moments," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "I'm sure he's going to tell you that too. He was up and down and was really strong in draws, and he was good killing penalties and looked good on the power play."

Sutter was mostly pleased with the team's performance as well.

"We did a lot of good things," Sutter said. "We've had trouble scoring, so just about every mistake you make is magnified. We weren't chasing the game. I thought we played a really good game."

The Hurricanes are finally seeing some reward for their work. Asked how close Carolina is to playing the game he envisioned at the start of the season, Peters answered quickly.

"Really close," Peters said. "We think there's a couple things we can do to get really deep, and when we get to that, we're going to have a really fun team to watch and a team that plays with a lot of tempo. I'm looking forward to getting to that day, hopefully soon."

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