Mrazek gets Hurricanes to blank LA Kings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes already have shown they can win in plenty of ways during the best start to a season in franchise history.
When the high-scoring Los Angeles Kings unexpectedly engaged them in a defensive grind, the Canes showed they can succeed there as well.
Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in his 19th career shutout, and the Hurricanes extended their torrid start with a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
Martin Necas scored in the second period and Sebastian Aho tipped in an empty-net goal as the Canes rebounded from their first defeat and improved to 6-1-0 — a mark never reached even by the old Hartford Whalers — in the opener of a four-game road trip.
“We’re finding ways to win, and we’ve done it different ways, which is good,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. “A night like tonight wasn’t a free-for-all, back-and-forth (game). It was a dig-in kind of game. We did a good job of sticking with that style. Yeah, it’s a good start, but it’s going to be a long season.”
Carolina went ahead when Ryan Dzingel feathered a pass from behind the net to Necas, who scored his second goal of the season on a one-timer from the slot early in the second period. The 20-year-old Czech prospect has three career NHL goals.
“I saw a spot in the slot there, and Zinger found me perfectly,” Necas said. “We’re having fun. You’re always having fun when you’re playing good. We like to play together.”
Mrazek made only a handful of tough saves after the first period, in which he stopped 17 shots.
Jack Campbell stopped 21 shots for the Kings, who were shut out after averaging four goals per game in their first five games this season.
Los Angeles managed to play three periods of solid defensive hockey after yielding 27 goals in those first five games under new coach Todd McLellan, but couldn’t beat Mrazek in the Kings’ third loss in four games.
“There wasn’t a lot of space to make plays either way,” McLellan said. “They capitalized on one of our mistakes. We failed to do that on a couple of theirs, but I thought it was a very evenly played game. That’s a team that went to the Final Four last year, so they’re a hard team to play against. They give you absolutely nothing as far as space goes.”
Drew Doughty went down with an injury after getting boarded by Staal deep in the Hurricanes’ end with 1:14 to play, although Doughty eventually skated off to the dressing room without much help.
“He’s getting looked at,” McLellan said. “Apparently he feels pretty good, so that’s a good sign.”
Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joel Edmundson, right, passes the puck past Los Angeles Kings left wing Alex Iafallo during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, in Los Angeles.