The well-rested Los Angeles Kings hope to take advantage of a weary opponent when they continue their three-game homestand Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Los Angeles played only two games during the first week of December and has had three days off since dropping a 5-4 shootout decision to Montreal on Sunday in the opener of its stretch at Staples Center.
Carolina Hurricanes vs Los Angeles Kings
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSN Carolinas, FSN West (Los Angeles)
PREDICTION: Kings 3, Hurricanes 1
LOS ANGELES — After a three-day break, the Los Angeles Kings will try to make their way back to the winners’ circle as they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at Staples Center.
The Kings have been off since Sunday, when they were dealt a 5-4 loss in a shootout by the Montreal Canadiens. The Kings (13-10-2) were 5-0 in extra periods before Sunday’s setback.
Six of the game’s goals, a season-tying four by the Kings, occurred in the second period and allowed Los Angeles to grab a 4-3 advantage before fading in the end. Nick Shore and Trevor Lewis also tallied for the Kings.
“The pucks were just going in; I don’t know why that was,” said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored on a power play during the barrage and earned his second multi-point game of the season. “Both teams were flying and a couple times we got the lead and let them back in it and that was our downfall. When you get the lead, you want to get the next goal right away and kind of carry it away from them, but they were able to capitalize pretty quick after we got the lead.”
Center Jeff Carter, who scored a power-play goal against the Canadiens, continued his hot streak for the Kings, who have captured six of their last eight contests. Carter remains the club’s points leader with 21 (11 goals, 10 assists) and has been a steady force behind the team’s recent fortunes along with linemates Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.
Center Anze Kopitar, who recorded three assists in the setback to the Canadiens, defenseman Alec Martinez, and Toffoli all have produced 14 points for the Kings.
Kopitar, who has a club-high 12 assists, is two shy of 700 for his career. He also remains a goal away from tying Wayne Gretzky for sixth on the Kings’ all-time list with 245.
The Hurricanes (10-10-6) are playing the second end of a back-to-back. The Hurricanes dropped a disappointing 6-5 shootout decision to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at Honda Center.
Carolina held a 5-3 lead in the final five minutes of regulation before allowing Anaheim to score a pair of goals within 91 seconds of each other to force the extra sessions.
Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie delivered his sixth goal by redirecting a slap shot by Cam Fowler from the blue line with 3:59 remaining. With 2:28 left, Corey Perry ended a drought of 18 consecutive games by scoring his fifth goal on a shot from the right circle to knot the score at 5.
“They worked their way through the neutral zone on us way too easy,” Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey said. “Two of the goals were right off the rush, and the other one was tipped in.
“We do a really good job most of the time of clogging up the neutral zone and not giving up anything. But we got a little too free-flowing through the neutral zone and gave up some chances.”
The Hurricanes have lost six of their last eight games. Before their loss to the Ducks, Carolina scored no more than two goals in each of their previous seven road games.