Carolina Hurricanes 2, Kings 1
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: The offense sputtered again Saturday night at RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., scoring an early power-play goal during a strong first period but fading away against a team that came in ranked 27th in the league in defense.
THE STAT: The Kings have scored four goals in three games since the All-Star break, and just one during five-on-five play. In four of the last five starts for back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier, the Kings have supported him with one goal or fewer.
TURNING POINT: For some odd reason, the Kings lost track of last season’s rookie of the year, Jeff Skinner, while scrambling in their offensive zone early in the third period. Jussi Jokinen took a shot from the perimeter and Bernier couldn’t control the rebound with Skinner standing unchecked on the doorstep. Before Bernier could cover the puck, Skinner nudged it away, leaving him an open side of the net and he didn't miss, giving his team the lead for good, 2-1.
HOT: Anze Kopitar scored the lone goal for the Kings, taking a pass in the slot from Justin Williams and beating Carolina goalie Cam Ward with a laser one-timer 4:58 into the opening period. The goal gave Kopitar 12 points in the last 15 games.
NOT: Kings center Mike Richards went his eighth consecutive game without producing a point, his longest stretch since the 2006-07 season. Richards isn’t the same player who scored nine goals in November. Since he went down with a concussion Dec. 1 and missed the next eight games, he has scored just three goals. Wayne Simmonds, who the Kings traded to Philadelphia last summer to acquire Richards, has two more goals on the season (16) than Richards.
GOOD MOVE: Any move the Kings make to acquire a goal scorer will be a good move.
BAD MOVE: Bernier had not started since Jan. 9, but looked solid through the first 35 minutes. He gave up a bad goal late in the second period, however, leaving enough room for Jiri Tlusty to shoot the puck under his right arm to tie the score, 1-1, with 4:20 left in the middle period.
NOTABLE: Kings defenseman Alec Martinez was also playing his first game since Jan. 9, sitting out the last nine as a healthy scratch. He replaced rookie Slava Voynov in the lineup. … The Kings have lost two straight games in regulation for the first time under coach Darryl Sutter, who took over Dec. 22. … The Kings fell to 18-6-2 when scoring a power-play goal, and 9-1-1 when scoring first.
UP NEXT: Tuesday at Tampa Bay Lightning, 4:30 p.m.