Cole, Gerber help 'Canes sneak by Kings

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Carolina Hurricanes have won all 11 games
they've led after two periods, not without getting a big scare from
the Los Angeles Kings.

Erik Cole snapped a 13-game goal drought by scoring twice,
Justin Williams also scored and Martin Gerber made 35 saves to lead
the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory on
Thursday night.

"We were very fortunate to hang on with the way we played in
the third period," Cole said. "We didn't do a very good job of
getting pucks out of our end. You can't sit on any kind of lead
anymore. You used to be able to, the way the old rules were. But
it's tough when you're killing penalties because that's going to
help the other team build momentum."

The Kings outshot Carolina 18-6 over the final 20 minutes,
getting goals from Jeff Cowan and Eric Belanger. But Alexander
Frolov took a hooking penalty with 3:16 to play, derailing the
comeback bid.

"They're a good hockey team. They picked it up in the third
period and they got it going," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette
said. "But we did some really careless things with the puck and
really undisciplined things with penalties. We were very fortunate
to walk out of here with a win."

The Kings were awarded six consecutive power plays, but failed
to score more than two goals for the sixth straight time. It was
their fifth loss in that stretch.

Gerber improved to 12-5-1. The three-year veteran is finally
getting a chance to start regularly after two seasons in Anaheim as
Jean-Sebastien Giguere's backup.

"We didn't see Marty play last year, but the one thing he was
missing was an opportunity to be a Number One goalie," Laviolette
said. "I think it's good for him and good for the team that he's
playing well, but I don't think it's that much of a surprise that
Marty's numbers are what they are."

Cole gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 10:27 of the first period
against a penalty-killing unit that has surrendered at least one
power-play goal in 12 consecutive games. Cole jumped on a loose
puck in the right circle, stick-handled away from Sean Avery and
beat Mathieu Garon high to the glove side with a slap shot.

"The way we played in the first period was unacceptable,"
Kings captain Mattias Norstrom said. "The first 20 minutes cost us
the game. We dominated for 30 minutes, but that is not good enough.
We dug too big of a hole with the 3-0 deficit."

The Hurricanes struck again at 13:59, just five seconds after
Los Angeles killed off a tripping penalty against Derek Armstrong.
Mike Commodore's one-timer changed direction off the stick of Kings
forward Pavol Demitra and bounced right to Williams, who scored
from the right of the crease with Garon leaning the other way. It
was the 12th goal for Williams, who has eight goals and 15 points
over his last 11 games.

"They have a very good team with a lot of speed up front,"
Kings center Craig Conroy said. "We tried to get the puck deep the
first five minutes, but we turned it over at their blue line and it
cost us because they have a quick transition team with great

Cole, who averaged 16 goals over his previous three NHL seasons,
made it 3-0 at 6:52 of the second period with his eighth.

"Hopefully, that's the one that will get me going again," he

It was the fourth time in five games that the Kings gave up two
goals to one player. The others were Montreal's Pierre Dagenais,
Ottawa's Dany Heatley and Chicago's Kyle Calder. Los Angeles was
0-for-6 on the power play, and is just 3-for-53 over their last
eight games.

Game notes
Williams left the game with a foot injury after blocking a
shot in the second period. ... Kings RW Valeri Bure, who hasn't
played this season because of lower back pain, is scheduled to
undergo surgery on Friday and will be sidelined at least eight more
weeks. ... Los Angeles assigned LW Jeff Giuliano to Manchester of
the AHL. ... Garon's only other game against the Hurricanes was
March 13, 2003, when he led Montreal to a 4-0 win with 33 saves.
... Carolina came in with the NHL's second-worst, penalty-killing
percentage (77.4). ... The Kings are 8-9 in one-goal games.