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Morning Report: Ducks Brace for Hurricanes

Sunday, 03.2.2014 / 9:48 AM PT / News
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Morning Report: Ducks Brace for Hurricanes
By Kyle Shohara
AnaheimDucks.com

With the recent rains pelting Orange County over the past three days, it’s only fitting that a team named the Hurricanes comes to town. Tonight marks the second of five consecutive at Honda Center and the final game of the season series between Anaheim and Carolina.

It’s the tale of two teams heading in opposite directions. For the league-leading Ducks (42-14-5, 89 points), they find themselves sitting atop the NHL with a three-point lead over second place Chicago. But for the Hurricanes (26-25-9, 61 points), it’s a battle trying to stay above the Eastern Conference floor. After a 3-1 loss to the LA Kings yesterday, the Hurricanes find themselves in 13th place in the East and seven points away from eight-place Philadelphia. Tonight has all the markings of a so-called “letdown game,” so the Ducks will have to be sharp from the get-go.

“It’s about being aware of your opponent,” said defenseman Bryan Allen, who played two seasons with Carolina (2010-12). “They’re playing in the East and fighting for points. Every game is a big one for them. They’re going to be hungry, so we’re going to have to be ready.”

The Ducks learned a harsh lesson last season during the final stretch before the playoffs. Over the final 20 games of the season, the Ducks played sub- .500 hockey heading into the playoffs. Allen says he hopes it was a wakeup call heading into the final 21 games this season.

“I hope we learned our lesson last year that you can’t take things for granted, and play games to play games,” he said. “At this time of the year, you have to play a certain way to develop a mentality and identity that carries forward.”

Head coach Bruce Boudreau says teams like the Hurricanes - teams that are fighting for their playoff lives – are some of the most dangerous to play against.

“Our hands will be full because they’re a desperate hockey club,” he said. “It’s simple. They have to win or they’ll be out by the end of the week. They’re not looking at rivalries. They’re looking to survive.”

Boudreau knows the Hurricanes well, having coached against them during his time as bench boss of the Washington Capitals. He says the Staal brothers, Eric and Jordan, are two players to keep an eye on.

“When Eric Staal is playing at the best of his game, he’s a very difficult man to stop,” he said. “And when Jordan Staal is playing really well, it gives them two big centers. Jeff Skinner is as quick as anybody, and so is Nathan Gerbe, who’s had a really good year.”

HOME ADVANTAGE
The Ducks have gone 23-5-2 through 30 games at Honda Center, marking the best home start in club history. Anaheim was the fourth team in 40 NHL seasons (since 1973-74) to record points in each of its first 22-plus home games (20-0-2) from Oct. 13-Jan. 15, joining Philadelphia (19-0-7, 1979-80), New York Islanders (19-0-4, 1978-79) and San Jose (20-0-2, 2008-09) in that category. The Ducks, who were the last NHL team to suffer a home loss in regulation this season (Jan. 21 vs. Winnipeg), have gone 15-5-1 in their last 21 home games and earlier set a club record with eight straight home wins to open a season.

DUCKS-HURRICANES
Anaheim and Carolina conclude a two-game season series tonight at Honda Center. These two teams first met on Nov. 15 at PNC Arena, a 3-2 shootout loss for the Ducks. The Ducks have won two straight home games against the Hurricanes dating to Nov. 25, 2009 and own a 12-12-3 all-time record vs. tonight's opponent (7-5-1 in Anaheim). Saku Koivu paces Anaheim skaters with 27 points (9g/18a) in 46 career games vs. Carolina.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 53 21 20 12 123 143 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Perry 52 21 17 -3 38
R. Getzlaf 48 5 33 9 38
R. Rakell 49 13 15 -2 28
R. Kesler 52 11 15 -8 26
S. Vatanen 52 6 19 -1 25
C. Stewart 46 8 9 2 17
J. Silfverberg 52 6 11 -2 17
A. Cogliano 52 6 11 -9 17
H. Lindholm 51 6 8 -5 14
C. Fowler 39 3 9 -11 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 11 8 5 .920 2.27
J. Gibson 12 8 2 .917 2.13

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