It's too early to have made much impact in the standings, but Carolina Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette knows his team can't afford to keep spending vital minutes in the penalty box.
Laviolette's club looks to cut down on costly penalties Friday when the Hurricanes open their season-long six-game road trip with a game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Carolina (2-1-0) had a chance for its first 3-0 start since 1995-96, but lost 3-1 at home Monday to the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Detroit went 2-for-6 on the power play, following similar efforts by the Hurricanes' first two opponents - Tampa Bay (2-for-7) and Florida (2-for-6).
"We came out with I think a better stride in the second period and started to generate some chances, but then you've got guys sitting (for penalties)," Laviolette said. "That just took away from it. We've been taking I think lazy penalties for the first three games. These hooking and holding penalties have got to stop because they're going to kill us."
Laviolette certainly does not want the penalty trend to continue against a Los Angeles (1-2-0) club that scored three power-play goals against Anaheim on Tuesday en route to a 6-3 victory.
Joe Corvo, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Kings from 2002-06, scored the lone goal for Carolina in Monday's defeat. Ray Whitney assisted, increasing his early-season point total to a team-leading four.
Goaltender Cam Ward had a solid effort in a losing cause, stopping 33 of 35 Detroit shots. Ward won his only career start against Los Angeles, making 21 saves in a 2-1 victory Feb. 13, 2007.
That game at Carolina was the last meeting between these teams, and the third consecutive win for the Hurricanes in the series. Including a scoreless tie, Los Angeles is winless in its last four games against Carolina since an 8-2 victory at Staples Center Feb. 7, 2003.
This trip will provide a significant test for the Hurricanes, looking to improve upon their 19-20-2 record away from the RBC Center in 2007-08, one reason they missed the playoffs for the second straight year. The two-week swing also includes games against Stanley Cup finalist Pittsburgh, and playoff clubs Anaheim and Montreal.
While Carolina is looking to rebound from its first loss, Los Angeles is seeking its second straight win as it attempts to erase the memories of last season's league-low 71 points.
After managing only one total goal in home-and-home losses to San Jose to open the season, the Kings gave coach Terry Murray his first win with the club Tuesday, storming back from an early two-goal deficit against the Ducks.
Wayne Simmonds scored his first NHL goal, Alexander Frolov, Matt Moulson, Tom Preissing and Jarret Stoll all also scored, and newly-signed Patrick Sullivan notched his first goal of the season as part of the Kings' offensive outburst.
"It's nice to see us score some goals," Murray told the team's official Web site. "That's where confidence comes from and that's where you can build a team a lot faster, when you have that kind of result."
All-Star center Anze Kopitar, who signed a seven-year, $47.6 million contract extension through 2016 on Saturday, had two assists for his first points of the season.