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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Kings, in two-game skid, get major test in Carolina

Kings, in two-game skid, get major test in Carolina

The Kings will face their toughest test of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes, the best team in the NHL by points percentage, at Saturday’s matinee at the Staples Center.

The Kings ended their seven-match unbeaten streak with an overtime loss against Winnipeg last week and ended their eight-match series with a 2-0 loss against Washington on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, his competitiveness level has been high and his defensive game has been strong. In his two losses, he only allowed one goal five-on-five – a shorthanded goal, a three-on-three overtime winner and an empty-net tally otherwise handed down – and excelled in goals and on penalty kills. continued to do. He has hit 20 of his last 22 penalties and has scored just 16 total goals in the same stretch of nine games.

“I thought we had two really good games. System-wise, we were really good,” said forward Trevor Moore.

The flipside is that the Kings have scored only four goals in their last three games, putting a huge burden on their goalscoring abilities, low defense and penalty kills. Moore said the Kings worked on finishing around the net in practice, and few would better understand the Kings’ offensive frustrations. The versatile, energetic forward’s one-timer at the edge of the net was centimeters from giving the Kings a 1-0 lead on Wednesday, and in general his highlight reel this season will be filled with hit crossbars, dented posts and other near misses.

“I think, as a group, we’re going to get there,” Moore said. “There are so many talented people for this [pucks] Don’t go inside.”

The Kings appear ready to reshuffle their lines, moving up to the top line with Adrian Kempe Enz Kopitar and Victor Arvidsson and Dustin Brown sliding into the third line with Moore and center Rasmus Kupari. Brown has scored two goals in 17 games and hasn’t found the back of the net since 23 October. Kempe recently added a goal with a six-game point streak and four consecutive games.

McLellan was careful to dismiss any notion that Brown’s move down the lineup was an indictment of his performance, following Washington’s game and recent practice.

“He’s 37 years old, he leads us in hits, he’s shot the puck and he’s played a tough, aggressive game – he’s doing a lot of stuff,” McClellan said. “He’s provided the lead and he’s done what you ask him, it’s not going for him right now. The Brownies will be fine wherever they go. He just needs to put one in the net and I think things will come for her.

The top line of the new look will go ahead with the Hurricanes, whose franchise has taken a 180-degree turn under their head coach and former team captain Rod Brind’Amour. Between his retirement as a player in 2010 and his first season as coach in 2019, running to the Hurricanes’ conference finals, Carolina missed the playoffs every season. The Cannes have since qualified for three consecutive seasons and have won at least one series in each of them. This year, their .867 win percentage was .73 points higher in Thursday’s games than any other team.

“They’re stingy, they’re a volume-shooting team and they really get behind you. They’re a speed team,” McClellan said.

Most recently, Carolina broke the Ducks’ eight-game unbeaten streak with a 2-1 victory on Thursday.

Winger Andrei Svechnikov and center Sebastian Aho have led the Hurricanes this season, both producing more than one point per game. Defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who was ousted from the New York Rangers, was a controversial signing that has paid dividends. His 14 points in 15 games have softened the blow by Dougie Hamilton’s move to free agency. In goal, former Ducks netminder Freddie Anderson has made a compelling early-season case for his Vezina Trophy candidacy with a .941 save percentage, 1.71 goals-average and 10-2-0 record.

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