Los Angeles 8, Carolina 2

Source: UPI SportsLOS ANGELES, February 08, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) — Bryan Smolinski recorded his third career hat trick, rookie Jared Aulin scored his first two NHL goals and Jamie Storr continued his solid play with 19 saves as the Los Angeles Kings rolled Friday night to an 8-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Despite having seven players on injured reserve, the Kings posted their third straight victory following a 5-14 Los Angeles moved past the San Jose Sharks into 10th place in the Western Conference and remained seven points behind the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Among the injured are Jason Allison (hip), Adam Deadmarsh (concussion), starting goaltender Felix Potvin (knee), defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (groin), Eric Belanger (back) and Ian Laperriere (knee). But the Kings continue to battle with a makeshift lineup of minor leaguers.

The players that were sidelined combined for 68 goals in 2001-02 as the Kings rebounded from a poor start and finished with 95 points. This season they have totaled 36 goals.

“You need balanced scoring to win and with some of the guys out of the lineup, we needed other guys to step up,” Los Angeles Coach Andy Murray said. “You look at our scoring statistics and see we got guys with three and four goals. You’re talking after 40 some games. They need to be able to contribute more than that.”

Among the players brought up is Aulin, who had not scored in his first 15 NHL games. Aulin was one of the players acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in the deal involving defenseman Rob Blake nearly two years ago.

Aulin opened the scoring 2:19 into the first period as the Kings bolted to a 3-0 lead. The 20-year-old center started the scoring for Los Angeles in the second with a power-play tally 6:21 into the period.

Smolinski capped his first hat trick since January 16, 2001 with a power-play goal with 79 seconds to play.

Rookie Joe Corvo, Ziggy Palffy and Brad Chartrand also scored for the Kings, who recorded eight goals for the first time since an 8-0 home win over the Dallas Stars on Jan. 30, 2001.

The Kings converted 4-of-7 power-play chances and surpassed their season-high in goals 16:20 into the second, when Chartrand tapped in Mikko Elorantra’s rebound.

Los Angeles also equaled its longest winning streak of the season in coach Murray’s 300th game with the club.

The Kings outshot the Hurricanes 17-5 over the first 20 minutes as Aulin beat Carolina goaltender Kevin Weekes to the stick side with a long wrist shot for his first NHL goal.

At the 15:40 mark, Corvo netted his fourth career goal. He emerged from a scramble in the left corner and beat Weekes with a slap shot. Nearly two minutes later, Smolinski scored the first of his three power-play goals as he tapped in the puck with his backhand from the low slot.

Aulin capped his first career multi-goal game 6:21 into the second, when he fired a shot through traffic and made it 4-1. Palffy finished off the Hurricanes 5:12 later, when his shot slid under the skates of two defenders for his team-leading 20th goal.

Jaroslav Svoboda and Josef Vasicek tallied for Carolina, which dropped its fifth straight contest and is just 2-15-1-2 in its last 20 games.

The loss was also the Hurricanes’ seventh straight on the road and dropped the defending Eastern Conference champions into a tie for 13th place in the East with the Atlanta Thrashers.

?Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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