RALEIGH, N.C. – After Los Angeles took an early lead, the Carolina Hurricanes waited for the Kings’ travel schedule to catch up with them.
Jeff Skinner scored 3:02 into the third period to lift the Hurricanes to a 2-1 win over the Kings on Saturday night.
Jiri Tlutsy also scored and Cam Ward made 24 saves for the Hurricanes, who are 8-2-1 in their last 11 home games as they try to work their way up from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
“They came out ready to play, and it seemed like they had a step on us in the first period,” Carolina netminder Cam Ward said. “We weren’t too pleased with it after the first intermission, but once again, we were able to turn it around. We knew that they had some travel, so we made it difficult on them in the second and third.”
After their 1-0 loss to St. Louis on Friday night, the Kings didn’t arrive in Raleigh until early Saturday morning.
“It’s not rocket science,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. “We played last night and got here at two in the morning. They were pushing a little bit more because they had more.”
Anze Kopitar scored for Los Angeles and Jonathan Bernier made 20 saves.
“I can count the number of opportunities they had on one hand and the number of opportunities we had,” Sutter said. “It’s a fine line. We played six periods on the road and gave up three goals and didn’t get anything out of it. Tough one to swallow.”
The Kings have lost two in a row.
With the score tied 1-1, Skinner worked hard on the forecheck deep in the Los Angeles zone. He eventually freed the puck and got it back to Jussi Jokinen, whose wrist shot was stopped by Bernier. Skinner pounced on the rebound before Bernier could freeze the puck and shot it into the open net.
It was Skinner’s third goal in five games as he works his way back into form after missing 16 games with a concussion.
“I’m not going to be digging on Cam Ward like that in practice,” Skinner said. “Those sort of things take a while to come back, and it was a good feeling.”
Los Angeles opened the scoring when Kopitar one-timed a shot from the slot past Ward. Justin Williams set Kopitar up with a nice pass from the corner.
Carolina tied the score late in the second when Tlutsy blocked a shot at the Carolina blue line. The puck deflected back into the Kings’ zone, and Tlutsy managed to corral it along the right boards. He skated forward and beat Bernier with a wrist shot from the right circle.
“He’s really picked his game up over the last 10 games or so,” Carolina coach Kirk Muller said of Tlutsy’s play. “Offensively, he’s been making a lot of things tick.”
The comeback win was a rarity for the Hurricanes, who entered the game with a 1-13-0 record when trailing after the first period.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, was 9-0-1 when leading after the first.
The Kings are in the midst of six-game road trip. Los Angeles, which entered the game in seventh place in the West, lost 1-0 to St. Louis on Friday.
The last time Los Angeles played in Carolina was on Nov. 11, 2009.
Ward has played especially well during the Hurricanes’ surge at home. Coming into the game, he had posted a 1.88 goals-against average over the previous 10 home games.
NOTES: Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter is the uncle of Carolina’s Brandon Sutter. … The Kings didn’t get into Raleigh until early Saturday morning after their game in St. Louis. … Williams was a member of the Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006.