Five game road trip continues Wednesday vs. Hurricanes

BY foxsports • November 10, 2009

By Mike Lipka, STATS Writer

Already mired in their worst stretch of play in team history, the Carolina Hurricanes didn't think things could get much worse.

But with franchise goalie Cam Ward sidelined following a bloody injury, ending their month-long losing streak likely won't get any easier.

Carolina will hope to end its shocking string of 12 straight defeats Wednesday night against the visiting Los Angeles Kings, who look to avoid a third consecutive loss.

After reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season, the Hurricanes (2-11-3) certainly weren't expecting to confront such adversity so soon, but they're winless since beating Florida 7-2 on Oct. 9.

Their last six losses have come in regulation, with the team totaling eight goals over that span.

The team could face even bigger concerns in their defensive end after Saturday night's 3-2 loss at Columbus took an ugly turn. During the first period, Ward's leg was cut by a skate and he bled profusely onto the ice, requiring an overnight hospital stay.

Ward, the 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner who has started 135 games the last two seasons, could miss at least one month with the injury.

"He's a critical piece, there's no question about that," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "That's going to be tough to take."

The Hurricanes hope Monday's acquisition of veteran Manny Legace will help. The team signed the 36-year-old, who had been playing for the AHL's Chicago Wolves after compiling a career-worst 3.18 goals-against average last season with St. Louis.

It's unclear if Legace or Michael Leighton will start Wednesday. Filling in for Ward against Columbus, Leighton allowed three goals in the first four minutes of the third period as the Hurricanes blew their early lead.

"We were right in the game until we allowed those quick goals," Maurice said. "That's the way its been going for us lately."

The season had been going great for the Kings (10-6-2) until their recent stumble, which included a 3-1 home loss to Nashville on Saturday before Monday night's 4-1 defeat in Chicago, which began a five-game road trip.

Los Angeles also suffered a third-period meltdown against the Blackhawks, entering the final 20 minutes tied at 1 before allowing three unanswered goals. Coach Terry Murray blamed a poor penalty kill - Chicago was 2 for 3 on the power play - and some uncharacteristically weak goaltending from Jon Quick.

Despite their strong start, the Kings have been one of the worst in the league on the penalty kill, with opponents scoring at a 26.5 percent clip.

But Quick's problems were more surprising considering the 23-year-old had been 6-1-2 with a 2.19 goals-against average in his previous nine starts before Monday's problems.

"Playing on the road in a hostile environment, you've got to make sure you're making the routine stops," Murray said.

Los Angeles would also like to see some more consistency from an offense that has shown the potential to be prolific behind Anze Kopitar, who leads the NHL with 28 points. The Kings have scored at least five goals seven times, but they've also been held to two or fewer goals on eight occasions.

The Kings are 0-1-2 with a tie in their last four visits to Raleigh, where they last won Jan. 20, 2001.

Received 11/10/09 12:42 pm ET

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