With two goals from Adrian Kempe and a dominating third period, the LA Kings are unable to hold off the Carolina Hurricanes and lose 5-4.

The LA Kings fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in dramatic fashion, 5-4. extending their losing streak to three games on Saturday. The two teams combined to score nine goals after the first two periods, but ironically, not a single goal in the third period.

Speaking of the third period, the Kings outshot the Hurricanes 20-2, but Frederik Andersen played lights out in that last period, and the Canes squeaked out with the win.

This game was undeniably the most hectic and tense game of the season, and the Kings almost won it. Here are some thoughts from the 5-4 matinee game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

1. What’s up with Cal?

It would be wrong to blame every goal scored on the LA Kings today on Cal Petersen, but there must be some accountability.

The Hurricanes took only 20 shots today, yet somehow scored five goals and won. That alone is a red flag. Five goals on 20 shots are something you do not want to see, especially when you outplay the Hurricanes in almost every aspect of the game. There were a few goals that were saveable, and that’s what hurt the Kings.

Petersen finished the match with a .750 save percentage, a 5.00 GAA, and a -2.9 GSAx (goals saved above expected). For a guy that recently signed a three-year contract extension, he didn’t have his best outing. There’s nothing but respect for Cal, especially how much he saved the Kings last year, but he did play a significant role in the loss against the Canes.

On the year, Petersen has a -1.72 GSAA (goals saved above average), a -1.45 GSAx, and now thanks to this crummy loss, he falls to under a .900 save percentage. It’s still early in the year, but I’m starting to get worried about his performance, and I hope he snaps back soon because the loss against Carolina showed how much the Kings rely on their goaltending.

2. Defensive play wasn’t great either

As mentioned earlier, the defense did not have a good game either. Especially Mikey Anderson and Tobias Bjornfot. They both finished with a -4, and they both kept breaking down. 

In all fairness, the entire D corps broke down. Every defenseman not named Alex Edler looked lost in the defensive zone, and that’s what caused the Canes to score their five goals.

For example, in this opening goal that Seth Jarvis scored, Toby Bjornfot was lost as he was beaten to the puck by Sebastian Aho and Mikey Anderson had not much time to think.

Anderson was outplayed, deked out, and sped by so quickly by Necas, leading to the game-winner. Considering the fantastic season Anderson has had defensively, it hurts to say, but this game was tough to watch for him. He constantly broke down, and that played a significant role in the loss as well. 

Todd McLellan went into the third period juggling the defensive lines around seeing Mikey Anderson being demoted to the third period with Olli Maatta and Kale Clague being moved up to split time with Bjornfot, even Edler in some cases.

The defense needs a lot of work, and the game against Arizona can be an excellent game to find some confidence in their zone.

3. The Forwards had a few standout players

There were many standout players in Saturday’s game, and let’s start with the man who scored two goals, Adrian Kempe. His first goal was LA’s second goal as he tipped in a shot from Alex Edler, which looked like it was initially Edler’s 100th career goal.

Kempe’s second goal was a beauty. He stole the puck while shorthanded from Tony DeAngelo and used his speed to get to the net, and rifled it right past Andersen.

Anze Kopitar had an interesting game as well. He’s still in the midst of his slump, but he made a couple of nice passes here and there and had a decent game overall. He had an assist on Kempe’s first goal.

Once again, the fourth line played like a first line. Blake Lizotte and Brendan Lemieux both scored tonight, and Kaliyev had a solid game as well. He had three shots on goal and had seven shot attempts in total. 

The fourth line was buzzing, and you could tell they gave it their all every single shift. There were no complaints from that fourth line as they were one of LA’s most productive lines, if not the most effective. The LA Kings outplayed the Hurricanes in almost all facets, but it didn’t go their way.

In the end, the Kings’ loss to the Carolina Hurricanes is disappointing. They will hope to bounce back Sunday evening against the struggling Coyotes.

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