Ducks Vs. Hurricanes: Anaheim Seeks Third Straight Win Over Carolina

(Sports Network) - Consecutive rallies have given the Hurricanes their first three-game winning streak of the season, while the Ducks were unable to dig themselves out of an early hole last time out to extend their string of victories. Anaheim takes aim at a third straight victory over Carolina this evening at RBC Center. The Ducks opened a seven-game road trip with an overtime victory in Washington on Wednesday and figured to have an easier time of things the following night on Long Island. Facing an Islanders team that had lost 20 of its previous 21 games, Anaheim was tagged for three goals in a 99-second span in the first period and never recovered in a 3-2 loss.

Curtis McElhinney stopped nine of the 12 shots he faced in the start before being lifted for Jonas Hiller, who turned aside all 17 shots he faced in the game. Joffrey Lupul and Jason Blake both scored and had an assist in the loss, which snapped a three-game win streak. "The first period was tough," Blake said of New York's scoring burst. "They scored quick goals on us ... I thought we did some great things in the second and third period."

The Ducks, who are one point back of Pacific Division-leading Dallas, played without winger Teemu Selanne for a fourth straight game due to a nagging groin injury. Carolina wrapped a five-game road trip 3-1-1 thanks to a pair of comebacks over Florida and Carolina. The Hurricanes erased a 3-0 deficit to beat the Panthers on Wednesday, then rallied from two goals down to top the Thrashers, 3-2, in a shootout the following night.

Brandon Sutter and Eric Staal scored in the third period and Sergei Samsonov had the winner in the shootout. Cam Ward ended with 45 saves in the victory. "It was a great effort from everyone," said Staal. "Obviously you never want to get behind, especially in this league. Unfortunately we did the last two games. But we found a way to battle back and stay competitive and stay with our game plan and get a win."

Carolina did lose Jiri Tlusty for the next few games due to an upper-body injury and 21-year-old Zach Boychuk is expected to replace him in the lineup. The former 2008 first-round pick has 10 goals and 22 assists in 28 games this year in the American Hockey League. The Ducks earned their sixth victory in their last nine versus the 'Canes with last year's 3-2 home win. Selanne had the game-winning goal and an assist in that one, while Sutter had one of Carolina's goals.

Neither Ward nor Hiller got the start in last year's lone meeting. Anaheim has won three of its last four at Carolina.

For more Ducks news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Anaheim Calling.

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