|7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ET23:30 BRT, October 15, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California Attendance: 14,219
High-flying Hurricanes face Kings' leaky defense
Carolina Hurricanes at Los Angeles Kings
- The Hurricanes suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, falling to the Blue Jackets, 3-2, at home. Despite the loss, they've started 5-1-0 for just the second time in franchise history -- the Whalers started 5-1-0 in 1996-97, their final season in Hartford.
- Erik Haula scored in the loss to Columbus, giving him five goals already this season. That's tied for the most by a Hurricanes player in their first six games with the team since the franchise moved to Raleigh. Haula had just two goals in 15 games with Vegas last season.
- Carolina is 1-5-2 in Los Angeles since the 2008-09 season, going just 2-for-25 on the power play and getting outscored 23-14 in those games. The Canes are 5-2-1 at home against the Kings in that same timeframe.
- The Kings fell to the Golden Knights, 5-2, at home on Sunday, and are allowing an average of 5.2 goals per game, highest in the league. The 26 goals they've allowed through five games are tied for the second most in franchise history (28 in 1985-86).
- Dustin Brown scored in the loss to Vegas, already his third goal and sixth point of the season. He is coming off back-to-back 20-goal seasons after going five seasons without scoring more than 18 goals.
- Both teams have generated a ton of shots this season -- the Kings are averaging 37.4 shots on goal per game this year, behind only the Panthers (38.2). The Hurricanes rank third, averaging 37.0 shots per game.
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One of the top-scoring teams in the early season will meet one of the most porous defenses when the Carolina Hurricanes begin a four-game road trip Tuesday with a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Hurricanes opened the season with five consecutive victories, but they will enter off a 3-2 defeat at home Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. With 23 goals scored through six games, including four games of at least four goals, the offense has lifted Carolina atop the Metropolitan Division.
Left winger Erik Haula already has five goals on the season, including one against the Blue Jackets. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton has four goals, with all of them coming in his current -- and career-best -- four-game goal-scoring streak.
But a second game in consecutive nights Saturday appeared to neutralize the Hurricanes' speed by the time the third period arrived.
Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour was in no mood to simply shrug off the defeat, either.
"They did exactly how we thought they were going to come play us to a T," Brind'Amour said of the Blue Jackets' plan of attack. "We weren't ready and didn't mentally prepare properly as a group for that kind of game. We got what we deserved, in my opinion."
The Hurricanes added forward Brian Gibbons to the roster Sunday after he was recalled from Charlotte in the AHL. He had a goal and three assists in four games with the Checkers.
A well-rested Hurricanes team against the Kings' leaky defense could be a recipe for fireworks. But after a dismal 2018-19 season in which Los Angeles was the worst team in the Western Conference and produced an NHL-worst minus-61 goal differential, the Kings' play in the early season has given some reason for optimism.
The Kings have opened 2-3-0 and sport one of the league's better offenses of their own (20 goals in the five games). But they have given up 26 goals, tied for the second-highest total in the NHL. In their three defeats, all with veteran Jonathan Quick in goal, the Kings have allowed a combined 19 goals.
Los Angeles was handed an 8-2 defeat by the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and then dealt a 5-2 defeat against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. On Saturday, though, the Kings came alive on offense in their home opener, rolling to a 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators.
"It's a different mentality," Kings left winger Dustin Brown said of his team relative to past seasons, according to NHL.com. "There's a lot more direction in our team than the last couple years. A lot of that is (head coach) Todd (McLellan) coming in and setting the standard that we want to play at. We have a new system I haven't played, and that makes it exciting for me."
McLellan, who was hired by the Kings in April after he was fired by the Edmonton Oilers 20 games into last season, has a decision to make with Quick (19 goals allowed on 92 shots on goal, .793 save percentage). Backup goalie Jack Campbell has allowed seven goals in his two starts, both victories.
Following the Sunday defeat, McLellan declined to name a No. 1 goalie moving forward. The Kings have three games remaining on their first homestand.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 14, 2019