Tim Gleason battles with Andrei Loktionov at the Staples Center. (Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)

East Coast vs West Coast: Canes vs Kings

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Jeff Skinner is congratulated by (sniff, sniff) Erik Cole after scoring his first NHL goal. (Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The Carolina Hurricanes have not defeated the L.A. Kings since February 13, 2007. That record can cause a little angst, think Biggie versus 2Pac. That would make Canes like Bad Boy Records for those who need a refresher course on the 90’s hip-hop feud. So, it only seems appropriate I write this game preview in a lyrical rap…

Throw your hands in the air, if youse a true player!

Ok, that isn’t going to fly. It would be like Betty White donning a gold chain and spitting words about snagging some dough. Actually, she could probably pull it off better than me.

Anyway, the Canes are coming off an epic win against the Boston Bruins with two new franchise records (Ward’s 47 stops and series sweep of Boston). The team executed tight, short shifts and played an aggressive 60 minutes. They will need to repeat that performance to defeat this Western Conference team. The Kings are second in the Pacific Division with 60 points (25-17-10). The Los Angeles team is 10-6-6 on the road while the Canes are 13-12-3 at home and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

Brandon Sutter (2g, 1a) and Eric Staal (1g, 1a) are on a two game point streak. Also, Sutter is just three points shy of 100 Hurricanes points. Jeff Skinner scored his first NHL goal against the Kings in their last meeting on October 20th, 2010.

The key to this game is getting an early lead, preferably a two-point jump as the last five of the last six meetings between the two teams have been decided by one tally. Canes need to take shots while Ward and the defense must shut down Justin Williams (4pts in 5 games) and Drew Doughty (4pts in 5 games). Kings’ captain, Anze Kopitar (15g, 30a), is the team’s point leader  followed by Williams  (10g, 25a)and Dustin Brown(13g, 14a).

Eric Staal (12g, 26a), Jeff Skinner (14g, 14a), and Tuomo Ruutu (16g, 11a) round out the Hurricanes top three point leaders.

It appears “sick” Chad LaRose will not play again tonight, so the lines should be…

Tlusty / Staal / Ruutu

Jokinen / Nash / Skinner

Nodl / Sutter / Dwyer

Drayson / Brent / Stewart

The defensive pairings…

Gleason / Allen

Harrison / Faulk

Spacek / McBain

Cam “freakin” Ward (only way I can say his name right now) will likely face Jonathan Quick in opposing creases. Two EYECANDYAIR goalie masks on the ice…oh my!

Let’s Go Canes!

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Tags: Anze Kopitar Brandon Sutter Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes Chad LaRose Dustin Brown Eric Staal Jeff Skinner Justin Williams L.A. Kings Tuomo Ruutu

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