What we learned from the Kings' 3-0 win over the Hurricanes

The Kings surged into the All-Star break with a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday night. The Kings (24-21-4) turned a goaltender’s duel into a lopsided win with three goals in the final 4 minutes and 43 seconds. The Hurricanes (21-20-7) generated a handful of high-grade chances but were ultimately unable to put them away. 

Here’s some of what we learned from the game:

Getting defensive

There were a lot of ways to positively characterize the Kings defense and goaltending on Thursday. 

Peter Budaj made 22 saves en route to his fifth shutout of the season. That was the first shutout loss of the Hurricanes’ season. The Hurricanes went scoreless on four power plays, and Jeff Skinner, their leading scorer, was held shotless for the first time this year.

Budaj, who made a handful of impressive saves, was mostly impressed with the play in front of him. The Kings blocked 13 shots, which was key on the four penalty kills. Budaj was also thankful for the chances that flew high or wide. 

“I think you can ask any goalie, that’s what you need,” said the 34-year-old. “You need a little bit of luck, I call it the god hand. You’re out of position and they have an empty net and they miss the net or hit the crossbar or somebody’s stick, you know? You need that. You ask any goalie in the league, you need that to win and especially to get a zero.”

They come in bunches

The Kings needed 16 minutes and 15 seconds of the first period to score all three of their goals in a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. The offensive story was similar two day later, albeit at a different time in the game, as the Kings netted three goals in 2 minutes and 19 seconds of the third period. 

The first goal came when Marian Gaborik, who received a well-placed pass by Drew Doughty, faked Cam Ward out of position before burying his fifth score of the year. Trevor Lewis followed by slapping in a bouncing puck 38 seconds later, and then Kyle Clifford iced the game with an empty net goal with just over 2 minutes left in the contest. 

Doughty said he thought the Hurricanes outplayed the Kings for two periods and that Budaj allowed the L.A. squad to hang in. They rewarded Budaj with a flurry of goals in the third, which punctuated a four-game road trip with back-to-back wins. It was also the Kings’ fourth game in six days, which forced them to reach down for a little something extra at the finish. 

“They were just buzzing early,” Doughty said of the first two periods. “They were just flying in their forecheck, they weren’t letting us get over the zone. We were still getting some opportunities but not the opportunities we would like. 

“But yeah, playing that many games now in that many nights, sometimes you’re going to start kind of slow. But … we stuck together with it and [Budaj] came up with big saves. It’s a huge win for us.”

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times

Ice Hockey Los Angeles Kings Carolina Hurricanes Peter Budaj Drew Doughty PNC Arena Kyle Clifford

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