RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA (TICKER)—Although the Los Angeles Kings witnessed the best performance of Cristobal Huet’s brief career, it was not going to be enough to get them into the postseason. It wasn’t even enough for a win.
Coming off his first NHL start and second career win, Huet got the surprise assignment ahead of Jamie Storr. Huet, the first NHL goaltender born and raised in France, did not disappoint coach Andy Murray.
“He’s stopping the puck, and that’s what you like about goalies,” Murray said. “He looks composed. He’s seeing the puck and finding all the shots.”
“The things is to win games and get points,” Huet added. “We got one, and that’s not too bad. They started very good, but after that, it was a pretty good game for both sides in the defensive zone.”
Storr had made 20 straight starts before Huet made 21 saves in Friday’s 3-1 win at Washington. That apparently was enough for Murray to turn to the second NHL player born and trained in France.
Huet turned aside 13 shots in the opening period, seven each in the second and third and three more in overtime. He made two key stops in the final minute of the extra period, stopping defenseman Niclas Wallin on a partial breakaway and getting his glove on defenseman Bret Hedican’s slap shot from the left faceoff dot as time expired.
“It doesn’t make a career, but I think Huet has played well,” Los Angeles defenseman Aaron Miller said. “He was really calm and he played the puck real well. We’re real happy with the way he has played. Anybody who we can get to help the team is a welcome addition. It’s only been two games, but it is a great opportunity for him to get in there and show what he’s got.”
Weekes matched the 27-year-old Frenchman. Playing for the first time since Monday, he recorded his third shutout in four starts, fifth of the season and 13th of his career.
The Kings, who scored three power-play goals against Weekes in an 8-2 home rout on February 7, did little much of the night en route to their first scoreless tie on the road since October 18, 1977 against the New York Islanders.
Most of their efforts at creating offense and traffic in front of the net were thwarted by Carolina, which created turnovers in the neutral zone and limited rebound opportunities.
“The defense did a pretty good job of letting him see a lot of those shots,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. “He didn’t give any of them back on rebounds. He played very, very, very solid. He played like our team tonight - pretty stingy.”
“The guys were definitely instrumental,” Weekes added. “It’s a little different. You try to approach it the same way, but you know you don’t have any breathing room.”
The Kings nearly broke through when Weekes was caught out of posistion late in regulation. But he recovered and got his glove on defenseman Jaroslav Modry’s one-timer through traffic from the left point with 1:46 remaining.
“We would have liked to have had two points tonight,” Murray said. “We knew they were going to be very good here. Our goaltender gave us a chance and we battled them. We got it down to the last five minutes and then we had three or four great chances to win.”
In the second, Weekes denied Sean Avery on a 2-on-1 minutes before sliding to stop Ziggy Palffy’s one-timer from the right point.
“There were some scoring chances,” Adams said. “There was some pretty tight checking from both teams, but neither team could find the net.”
Los Angeles climbed within seven points of Edmonton for the final Western Conference playoff berth but was held to two goals or fewer for the seventh time in nine games. It was the Kings’ first scoreless tie since March 26, 2001 at San Jose.
Weekes became the first goalie for the Carolina franchise to play in a scoreless tie on home ice since Mike Liut against Montreal on November 11, 1987.
Carolina, which has picked up points in five of its last six games (4-1-1), battled to its first 0-0 draw since January 31, 1999 at Boston. It was the franchise’s first scoreless tie at home since moving from Hartford in 1997.