November 01, 2014

Darryl Sutter considers four to be the magic number for the Los Angeles Kings while the Carolina Hurricanes have only reached that goal total once.

The visiting Kings seem more likely to get to that plateau Sunday when they aim to hand the Hurricanes a sixth straight loss.

Los Angeles (12-7-0) fell 3-2 at Detroit on Friday despite a 37-29 edge in shots, and Sutter wasn't happy with his club's inability to convert.

"We had lots of opportunities," Sutter said. "If you give up three, meaning the other team scores three, then you've got to score four. That's a big challenge in this league."

The Kings have scored four goals five times and have won all nine games when they have netted at least three. Jeff Carter had both goals Friday, including his first short-handed tally of the season.

Carolina (6-10-3) fell to 0-2-3 in its last five with Friday's 2-1 shootout loss to Toronto. The Hurricanes have scored three goals or fewer in 15 straight games since a 5-3 win over Detroit on Oct. 16, and have one of the league's worst offenses with 1.9 goals per game.

Los Angeles has taken four of the last five meetings, winning 3-0 at home Oct. 23. Tyler Toffoli scored twice and Jonathan Quick made 40 saves.

"They're a hard-working team," Carter said. "They've got a lot of guys that can skate and have a lot of skill. We better be ready."

Quick figures to return after Jhonas Enroth got the nod Friday. Quick is 4-1-0 with a 1.38 goals-against average in five games versus the Hurricanes.

Carolina will likely use Cam Ward, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner like Quick. Ward is 3-0-1 with a 1.23 GAA in four home starts versus the Kings.

The Hurricanes made history Friday, marking the first time all their defensemen hailed from the United States with six dressing. Defenseman Jaccob Slavin made his NHL debut.

"We play them. We like them. We like all those young kids, we like all our D that we have with us right here with us right now, we have a lot of confidence in them," coach Bill Peters said. "We had Jaccob start the game, and we think he's a good player. So we're going to play them."

Another defenseman, Justin Faulk, leads the team with six goals.

Among the Hurricanes' misfiring forwards is Eric Staal, who has four goals and hasn't scored in seven straight games after leading the club with 23 a season ago. Newcomer Kris Versteeg has two and a team-high nine assists.

The Kings average just under 28 hits while the Hurricanes average 18.0 for one of the NHL's lowest marks, though these teams each had 19 in the first meeting.

"They're an extremely deep team, they come hard, they check very well and their back end can create a lot of offense for them too but we should be excited for the challenge," Versteeg said about the Kings.

Carolina's last six-game slide was Dec. 4-16.

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