RALEIGH, N.C. – The Anaheim Ducks might have the Carolina Hurricanes to thank for their strong six-week run.
Since losing Oct. 19 at home to the Hurricanes to drop to 1-5-0, the Ducks have gone 13-3-3. The latest victory was a 4-1 decision at Carolina on Sunday night.
The Ducks have some of hockey’s most recognizable names: the Niedermayer brothers, defenceman Chris Pronger, Teemu Selanne and rising star Ryan Getzlaf, all of whom had at least an assist against Carolina.
Anaheim also got a big lift from its No. 2 goalie.
Jonas Hiller doesn’t have the reputation of stalwart Jean-Sebastien Giguere, but he is putting up Jiggy-like numbers.
Hiller is 5-0-0 with a 1.35 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in his last six starts. That run includes his first two NHL shutouts and Sunday’s 36-save performance.
That included 17 second-period saves, when the Ducks were fortunate to not trail by a goal or two. Instead, they broke free with three third-period goals, tying a team record by recording a point in eight consecutive road games.
“He stood on his head in the second period and made some huge saves and kept us in the game,” Rob Niedermayer said. “They really took the play to us there. He is a big reason we were in the game.”
And Niedermayer was a big reason the Ducks won the game. His goals sealed the victory after Selanne’s tip-in of a Pronger slapshot broke a tie at one.
Getzlaf opened the scoring less than two minutes in, giving him points in 17 of his last 18 games.
The deficit marked the 10th consecutive game, and the seventh in a row at the RBC Center, that the Hurricanes allowed the first goal.
Matt Cullen’s rebound shot tied the score five minutes later, but that was the last time the Hurricanes would find the net.
Hiller and the defence in front of him made things tough on the Hurricanes, who lost for the fourth time in five games, despite outshooting Anaheim 37-27, including 17-3 in the second period.
“Sometimes you have a bad period like our second one,” Hiller said. “At the end it is my job to keep the team in the game and give them a chance to win. That’s what happened in the third.”
The Ducks fended off four power plays, upping their penalty-killing streak to 18 in a row. Carolina is in the midst of a power outage, failing to score on its last 25 extra-man opportunities.
“Our power play, there’s nothing in sync with it, there’s nothing good about it right now,” Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said.
Notes: Carolina goalie Cam Ward left after the first period because of what was announced as a lower-body injury. He was replaced by Michael Leighton, who stopped the first seven shots he faced before the goals by Selanne and Niedermayer, 1:09 apart in the third. Laviolette said the move was precautionary. “We didn’t want to risk any further injuries, so hopefully it’s nothing that’s long-term,” he said.