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Hurricanes-Kings Preview

GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (17-8-2) at Los Angeles Kings (17-11-1).

TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

The Carolina Hurricanes have lost six of their last nine games, and the Los Angeles Kings have lost five of their last seven.

Both teams are looking to put together winning streaks to remain atop their respective divisions.

Kevyn Adams powered the Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory Tuesday over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, getting his second hat trick of the season. He scored two first-period goals and added a short-handed tally on a breakaway to end an eight-game goal drought.

Adams has scored all six of his goals via hat tricks, the first player to do that since Alexei Kovalev accomplished the feat with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001.

"You play hard every night and hope the chances are there so you can take advantage," said Adams, who scored a career-high 10 goals in 2003-04. "You want to stay confident and shoot the puck. Sometimes you get going and start feeling good around the net, so you want to keep rolling and not change what you're doing. I've been able to take advantage in those games, so I'll take it. That's for sure."

Bret Hedican also added a short-handed goal as the Hurricanes scored two short-handed goals for the first time since Dec. 3, 1992, at San Jose.

Rod Brind'Amour assisted on three goals and has a seven-game point streak with one goal and eight assists.

Carolina led 4-0 after two periods and is 10-0 when leading after 40 minutes.

Martin Gerber made 35 saves for just his second win in his last seven games. He is 2-3-1 in that span with a 3.49 goals-against average and .886 save percentage after starting the season 9-2 with a 1.93 GAA and .937 save percentage.

The Hurricanes, who entered the game 29th on the penalty kill, didn't allow a power-play goal for the first time in nine games.

Los Angeles snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Toronto Maple Leafs as Dustin Brown netted both goals and ended an 11-game pointless drought.

Mathieu Garon made 36 saves as the Kings salvaged the last game of a four-game road trip after losses at Chicago, Ottawa and Montreal.

"When you are on losing streak like that you don't want to go home with five losses in a row. We just wanted to win," Garon said.

Garon is 4-2 in his last six starts with a 2.52 GAA and .922 save percentage. He recorded his fourth career and most recent shutout in his lone start against the Hurricanes, turning aside 33 shots in a 4-0 win March 31, 2003, for the Montreal Canadiens.

The Kings, who are two points behind the idle Dallas Stars in the Pacific Division, have scored three goals or less in each of their last seven games.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 7): Hurricanes - 36 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Kings - 35 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Eric Staal, 20 goals, 20 assists and 40 points; Mike Commodore, 53 PIM. Kings - Pavol Demitra, 14 goals, 22 assists and 36 points; Sean Avery, 108 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 7): Hurricanes - Power play: 18.8 percent (33 for 175), 10th in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.4 percent (120 for 155), 29th. Kings - Power play: 14.8 percent (28 for 189), 26th. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (148 for 179), 13th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Gerber (11-5-1, 2 SO, 2.56 GAA); Cam Ward (6-3-1, 0, 4.05). Kings - Garon (9-6-0, 0, 2.85); Jason LaBarbera (8-5-1, 0, 2.89).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Hurricanes, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 8, 2003; Hurricanes 3-2 (OT). At Raleigh, N.C., Staal scored with 2:16 left in overtime, and Ron Francis and Danny Markov each scored a power-play goal in the second period for the Hurricanes.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hurricanes - 8-4-2 on the road; Kings - 10-4-0 at home.

Associated Press
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