Gold: Petr the Great leads Canes to 2-0 win :: WRALSportsFan.com
Petr Mrazek has done nothing but win so far during the early season. But, one thing he hadn't yet done was play a complete 60-minute game. That changed at Staples Center as Mrazek was stellar in a 31-save shutout win as the Carolina Hurricanes got back in the win column, 2-0, over the Los Angeles Kings.
Mrazek was tested early, steering aside 17 first period shots as the Canes worked their way into the game against a Kings side that was struggling to find their game at the start of the season. Carolina picked up their team game the rest of the way, as L-A was limited to just 14 shots over the final 40 minutes, but 11 of those came in the 3rd.
In his last two starts, Mrazek faced a TOTAL of 32 shots. And, while it's hard to get into a rhythm when your team has the puck all the time - as they did against the Lightning and Islanders - Petr wasn't great in the early stages of either game. But, boy he sure was against the Kings.
Mrazek was Carolina's best penalty killer in the 1st period, stopping four shots on L-A's first power play alone. And, he was under control all night long. And, on a night when the Hurricanes had a hard time generating a ton of chances (just 18 overall, 7 high quality and none in the third period according to naturalstattrick.com), they needed their goaltender to be great.
Petr was (the) Great.
* Martin Necas scored his second goal of the season midway through the 2nd period. He came down the slot and took a pretty feed from Ryan Dzingel from behind the goal and snapped it past Jack Campbell for the game-winner.
* Necas, who has a 4-game point streak, was arguably better on the defensive side of the puck in this game. The best part of the goal is how he rotated back up to the blue line with defenseman Haydn Fleury working for the puck in the corner. Then he was able to drift down the slot and bury the Dzingel pass. He could have had an assist as well, as his seam pass to Sebastian Aho was sent whistling wide of the net on the power play in the 1st period.
* Dzingel and Erik Haula assisted on the Necas goal, as each of the newcomers have now rung up six points in their first seven games with the Hurricanes.
* Joel Edmundson continues to prove his worth - especially on the penalty kill. Three more blocked shots tonight and 4:24 of shorthanded TOI, most among defensemen.
* Sebastian Aho scored his second empty net goal of the season, but some are better than others. Aho earned the ENG with a defensive zone face off win - his second in the last minute of the game. Then he won a battle in the neutral zone and forced a turnover to Teuvo Teravainen who's shot was sliding through traffic before Aho deflected it home. It was a strong all around effort for Aho, who is still looking for his first goal past a goaltender, but he doesn't care because the Hurricanes are 6-1-0.
* The Hurricanes went 0-for-4 on the power play and have been stymied on their last 13 tries dating back to the second period of the game in Florida. The Jake Gardiner unit (with Aho, Necas, Jordan Staal and Nino Niederreiter) was the sharper group in this game. Aho and Staal each had grade-A opportunities and Nino was robbed by the Kings' keeper on a redirection from the slot.
* Carolina won 33 of 57 face offs (58%) in the win. With Aho winning five of six including those two with Campbell out of the Kings' goal.
* Jordan Staal played in his 900th NHL game.
* The Canes remain in 1st place in the Metropolitan Division with 12 points. Pittsburgh and Washington are tied for second, four points behind Carolina.
* The Hurricanes will play in San Jose Wednesday night at 10:30. You can join Alec Campbell at 10:00 for Storm Watch on 99.9 the Fan.
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