LOS ANGELES (AP) — Although Tanner Pearson claims he never played baseball growing up in Canada, he fooled his fellow Los Angeles Kings with a home run swing on the decisive goal against Carolina.
And credit Jonathan Quick with the save in the Kings’ latest impressive work at home.
Pearson ended his 11-game goal drought with the tiebreaking score, and Quick stopped 25 shots in the Kings’ NHL-best 10th home victory of the season, 3-2 over the Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Just 38 seconds after Eric Staal tied it with a power-play goal in the second period, Pearson sneaked in on a scramble in front of Cam Ward’s net and batted a puck out of midair for his first goal since Oct. 26.
Pearson’s grouping with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli on That 70s Line was broken up due to coach Darryl Sutter’s dissatisfaction with the rookie’s recent play, but Pearson got back on the scoresheet with the same quick stick that scored seven goals in the Kings’ first eight games.
“When you get into a drought, and I’m not playing my best hockey lately, this game helped out a lot,” Pearson said. “That kind of stuff comes from working hard, and if you work hard, the bounces are going to start going your way.”
Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have won three straight. The Kings largely controlled play with 39 shots, and they hung on through a scoreless third period for their sixth win in eight meetings with Carolina.
The Kings improved to 10-2-1 at Staples Center, where they have lost in regulation just once since they hung their championship banner on opening night.
“We’ve got to be good at home,” Lewis said. “It’s our building. We can’t let other teams come in and push us around in our own building.”
Quick also won the matchup of Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalies, capping his 10th victory of the season with a stellar glove save on Elias Lindholm’s shot from the slot with about 90 seconds to play while the Hurricanes had an extra attacker.
Although the game finished with 37 scoreless minutes, Carolina repeatedly got close to a tying goal.
“We hung in there pretty good,” Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore said. “Obviously, our first period wasn’t the best. But at the end, we were throwing everything at them.”
Jeff Skinner also scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost four of five. Ward made 36 saves, but Carolina failed to build on the momentum of its victory in Dallas on Tuesday to open a five-game road trip.
“We had a hard time handling their size and strength on the walls,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “They wore us out in the (defensive) zone. They were a big heavy team in the offensive zone, and we spent too much time in there.”
Stoll opened the scoring with a one-timer from captain Dustin Brown, the latest goal from Los Angeles’ revitalized power play.
The Kings have six man-advantage goals in three games since Sutter began using full forward lines instead of power-play units. Los Angeles’ power play began the season in a 6-for-54 slump over the first 17 games before Sutter made the switch.
Skinner evened it with his fifth goal of the season, beating Quick with a nasty shot on a 2-on-1 break. Lewis then forced the puck past Ward early in the second period.
NOTES: Carolina beat the Kings 3-2 at home on Nov. 2. Quick hasn’t lost a start in regulation since that defeat, going 5-0-2. … Carolina’s Brad Malone got 17 minutes in penalties for instigating a fight after Brayden McNabb leveled Jay McClement with a legal check in the first period. … Kings D Slava Voynov missed his 14th straight game under suspension. He was charged with felony domestic violence earlier Thursday.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.