FINAL – Kings 2, Hurricanes 4 – Fagemo, Durzi, McLellan

The LA Kings concluded a four-game homestand at 1-1-2 with a 4-2 defeat against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday evening at Arena.

Forwards Arthur Kaliyev and Samuel Fagemo scored in defeat, Fagemo’s first career NHL goal. The young winger has two points from two games since he was recalled. Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the defeat.

Carolina scored twice in the opening stanza to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

First, defenseman Brady Skjei scored off the rush to open the scoring. After the Hurricanes moved quickly in transition, forward Jordan Martinook led a 2-on-1 and hit Skjei, who deked to the backhand to get the visitors on the board. With less than a minute to play and Carolina on a 6-on-4 advantage, courtesy of a penalty and a delayed penalty, forward Martin Necas snapped home a shot from right-hand circle for his 12th goal of the season.

The Hurricanes scored the only goal of the second period to take a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes. Just over 14 minutes into middle stanza, Necas pulled up inside the offensive blue line and sent a through pass to a crashing Sebastian Aho, who collected on his backhand and tapped in on the forehand for his tenth goal of the season.

The Kings pulled a goal back through their power-play unit midway through the third period and Kaliyev. After he was denied earlier in the sequence, Kaliyev took a feed through the slot from forward Phillip Danault and one-timed it off the shoulder of Carolina netminder Pyotr Kochetkov and in for his ninth goal of the season. The goal was his sixth of the season on the man advantage, tied for sixth most in the NHL.

The visitors regained a three-goal advantage through forward Andrei Svechnikov, who buried his 15th goal of the season. After he split a pair of Kings defenders of the rush, Svechnikov’s pass across the crease deflected off of defenseman Drew Doughty’s trailing skate and in.

Fagemo capped off the scoring on the evening with his first career NHL goal, bringing us to the 4-2 final. After he rang his shot off the post earlier in the period, Fagemo found himself in alone on Kochetkov again and the young winger fired top glove for the goal. Blake Lizotte and Matt Roy tallied the assists on the play for the Kings.

Hear from Fagemo, defenseman Sean Durzi and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.

Samuel Fagemo

Sean Durzi
On what Carolina did well tonight that made life difficult on the Kings
They came out, they worked hard and they got one on the power play there. I thought they played aggressively and they played to their game. That’s how it goes.

On if he feels tonight was a bit of a slump for the team
A few bounces here and there and it’s a different game, but obviously we have a lot better and that just comes to accountability. That’s something we’ll look at and we’ll be better for.

Todd McLellan
On his balance between credit to Carolina and disappointment in the Kings game
They’re tough team to play against. They play at a high pace, both with and without the puck, which makes it hard in all three zones. I thought we were prepared for it, it took us a little while to figure it out, but when you fall behind with that type of pressure it’s tough to come back. We were hurt tonight by long plays, stuff leaving their end and getting skated. Again, we knew that was going to be part of their game but they still executed. When we had those opportunities, we didn’t quite finish on them, so as a result you end up with the result we got.

On not burying chances early and how costly that is against this opponent
First of all, they defend real well and they limit opportunities, chances and shots on net. I thought the first period, we were slow and what I mean by that is we weren’t skating slow, but our decision to attack at the right time was slow. As we released a shot or a pass, there was always a stick on it and it would get deflected away, we’d be frustrated and away we go. As the game wore on, we got better in that area, but it was obviously too late.

On Samuel Fagemo’s play and his first career NHL Goal
Felt bad for him on the one that he had earlier when he hit the post, it was that close, but anytime a young player comes up and gets his first goal it’s exciting for not only him but for a lot of people in his world. His parents and friends and girlfriend and everybody that’s helped him get to the NHL, it’s kind of an “I’ve arrived” marker, that and that first lap when you play your first game. So, Sammy’s arrived, I thought he had a good, strong game tonight. Great to see our bench, we’re losing but they’re really excited for him, it’s a sign of a good, close team

On his thoughts on the team’s checking efforts since the 9-8 loss to Seattle
Since then, obviously that night checking wasn’t even in the dictionary for both teams, it was that kind of game. None of us were happy, we threw that one out the window, we looked at it a bit but against [Arizona] we checked pretty well. Tonight, we had some good checking moments. The ones that got away on us ended up in the net and it wasn’t the goaltender’s issue, it was ours and they’re a pretty talented team, they don’t need many. The ones that got away on them, we came close but not close enough.

On if he got the energy he was looking for from line adjustments in the third period
I think we did, yeah. I thought we got more pace through the middle, a little more speed and against this team, it’s a necessity. [Reporter: Is splitting up Kopitar and Kempe something that would be considered moving forward?] There’s potential, but it wasn’t separating, it was exactly what [reporter] asked, trying to get more speed through the middle than we had in the first few periods.

On Alex Edler’s status tonight
Alex was, I’d like to say a healthy scratch, but Alex wasn’t going to play tonight, we were going to give him a little bit of a rest but from what I understand he wasn’t feeling real good either. Let’s not confuse that though, we were going to pull him out so that he could get rest. [Reporter: Is that the plan with Edler, a day off here and there?] We’re a third into the season and yeah, we originally planned at the beginning of the year to consider it in back-to-back game situations. Because of injuries, or his own injury, he’s had to sit out or play in situations where we didn’t anticipate it. He’s given us some really good games and he’s a big part of our team. We miss him when he’s not in the lineup.

Notes –
– Samuel Fagemo scored his first career NHL goal in the third period. In the process, he established his first career point streak (2 games, 1-1-2).
– Arthur Kaliyev scored his ninth goal of the season tonight. It also marked his seventh power-play goal of the year, which is tied for the sixth most in the NHL this season.
– Kaliyev’s power-play goal extended the team’s power-play goal streak to six games, dating back to 11/22 versus New York.
– Over their last eight games, the Kings are 9-for-20 on the power play, converting at 45 percent, the best rate in the NHL in that span.
– Sean Durzi (0-1-1) extended his assist and point streaks to a career-long five games. He has seven points (1-6-7) over that span.
– Phillip Danault, Blake Lizotte and Matt Roy all collected assists in tonight’s defeat.

The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo.

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