‘Canes stifled by Quick-led Kings for 4th straight loss
LOS ANGELES — Alec Martinez scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play with 11:45 to play, Jonathan Quick made 24 saves, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 Saturday for their third victory in four days since the Olympic break.
Mike Richards scored his second goal since Thanksgiving and Justin Williams added an empty-net goal for the Kings, who have roared out of the break with three wins in three cities in about 70 hours. Low-scoring Los Angeles put up eight goals at Colorado and Calgary before holding off the Hurricanes in the Kings’ return to Staples Center.
Andrej Sekera scored and Anton Khudobin stopped 28 shots for the Hurricanes, who have lost three straight on their five-game road trip out of the break.
Carolina has lost four straight overall, and the Hurricanes must visit NHL-leading Anaheim and powerful San Jose over the next three days.
Carolina played without forward Alexander Semin, who was scratched with a lower-body injury. The Russian Olympian was hurt Thursday at Dallas.
Los Angeles had a 1-8-1 stretch shortly before the Olympic break, falling back to the pack in the Western Conference playoff race. The Kings appear revitalized after their time off and an eventful Olympics, which included gold medals for Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter along with two surprising victories for Slovenia and Anze Kopitar.
The Kings have won four straight overall, and Quick appears to be in top form after starting for the U.S. Olympic team in Sochi. He followed up his shutout of the Flames on Thursday with another strong performance against the Canes, including a handful of spectacular saves over the final two periods.
Los Angeles had a fruitless 4-on-3 advantage for 1:09 during the first period, but went ahead in the final minute on a sharp-angled shot by Richards, the veteran center whose scoring touch has deserted him this season. The goal was his first in 13 games since Jan. 18 and just his second in 37 games since Nov. 25.
The Hurricanes tied it up just 41 seconds later on a goal by Sekera. The Slovak Olympian’s floating shot banked off Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr and beat Quick with 15 seconds left in the first.
After five scoreless power plays in the first two periods, the Kings finally converted on their sixth. Captain Dustin Brown got the puck behind the Carolina net and fed it to Martinez, who blasted a shot from the slot for his first goal since Jan. 9.
Williams scored his 16th goal of the season against his former team with 1:01 to play.
NOTES: Carolina visited Staples Center for the first time since Oct. 21, 2010. … Carolina D Jay Harrison was a healthy scratch. He had played in 13 straight games. … Los Angeles scratched C Jordan Nolan and dressed young F Tanner Pearson for his 10th career NHL game. … Wayne Gretzky watched from a seat on the glass.