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Ducks Lose In Carolina, 4-2, Thanks To Eric Staal Hat Trick

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Eric Staal recorded his 12th career hat trick and the Carolina Hurricanes hung on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks, 4-2, at RBC Center. Staal scored three consecutive goals during the first 21:41 of play for Carolina, which has won four straight games for the first time this season. Cam Ward was brilliant between the pipes with 43 stops, including a glove save on a Saku Koivu shot that prevented a tie score with less than a minute remaining in the game.

"He's been real solid for us," Staal said of Ward. "When we've needed him to make the saves he has... He's one of the best in the league." Jussi Jokinen notched two assists and Joe Corvo added an empty-netter for the victors. Ryan Getzlaf scored two goals for the Ducks, who have lost two straight. Jonas Hiller surrendered three goals on 31 shots in the loss.

"We had opportounties," Getzlaf said of his team. "We had opportunities to get kills and we had opportounties to score goals. There is a strong responsibility that has to be taken." The Ducks took an early 1-0 lead after Perry sent the puck toward the net and Getzlaf finished the rebound only 2 1/2 minutes into the game.

Five minutes later, the game was tied on a Carolina power-play rush when Jokinen found Staal streaking down the left side. Staal took the pass and wristed a low shot past Hiller. The Carolina captain registered his second power-play goal of the game by jamming in a rebound from the back boards to give the Hurricanes their first lead with 27 seconds left in the first. The hat trick goal came 1:41 into the second period and was set up by a nice centering pass from Jeff Skinner to Erik Cole in the slot. Cole slipped the puck to the right side to Staal, who swept it into the net.

Anaheim made it a one-goal game with on a 5-on-3 power play when Getzlaf ripped a low shot past Ward. The Ducks remained on the two-man advantage for the next 57 seconds because of a Stall cross-checking call and they then pulled Hiller for the sixth attacker. Corvo, however, scored the empty-netter to seal the win for Carolina.

Carolina has won four of the last six meetings between the two teams, dating back to December 2005...The Ducks were 1-for-7 on the power play, while Carolina was an efficient 2-for-3.

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