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Hurricanes Blow In Here Only So Often

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

Had to dig through the black and white archives to find a photo from the last time the 'Canes played in Anaheim. 

Here's something we never thought we'd say back when 2012 started: If the Ducks win tonight, they will cut the distance between them and the eighth spot to single digits.

It's true: Thanks in part to a 10-2-2 run -- and the fact that Minnesota has gone 4-7-2 since the new year -- the Ducks can get within eight points of the eighth spot with a win against the Hurricanes tonight at Honda Center.

Carolina is 6-2-2 in its last 10, but still remains in last place in the Eastern Conference. “For the last five weeks, they’ve been playing real good hockey against anybody that they play,” said Bruce Boudreau. “In their division, nobody seems to want it. I think they’re like us that they believe. Everybody keeps losing and we keep winning, there’s a good shot that something good can happen.”

The Hurricanes haven't been to Honda Center since November 25, 2009, a date so long ago, in fact, that there are 10 Ducks in the lineup tonight who have never played Carolina at Honda Center. So long ago that Anaheim's defenseman on that night were Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Whitney, James Wisniewski, Nick Boynton, Steve Eminger and Brendan Mikkelson.

Meanwhile, the 'Canes are one of the few teams from the East the Ducks face twice this year, as Anaheim heads to Carolina later this month at the end of a daunting eight-game, 16-day road trip that starts Friday.

A big reason for Carolina's strong play as of late is veteran goalie Cam Ward. The 2006 Conn Smythe Trophy winner is 6-3-2 with a 1.45 goals-against average in his last 11 starts. Ward will be in there again tonight.

"Cam Ward has given up eight goals in his last seven games or something ridiculous like that," said Boudreau, who faced Ward plenty as coach of the Capitals. "I've seen him like that when he gets on a roll and he's impossible to score against. It's like he has an invisible sheild behind him. So, it's going to be a tough game."

And it's the last chance to see the Ducks at home until February 26, so get your tickets. The first 10,000 fans in attendance receive a package of Ducks trading cards and if you have a Ducks sticker on your car in the parking lot, you could win an oversized autographed Teemu Selanne Topps card.

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Boudreau was asked yesterday by Randy Youngman of the OC Register why he didn't use George Parros at some point during the eight-round shootout Anaheim ultimately won on Monday night vs. Calgary. It's not an outlandish question, considering that Parros won the Accuracy Shooting portion of the Skills Showdown on Saturday, by hitting all four corner targets on four shots. It's the second straight year he's done that.

Boudreau actually did call on Parros in the eighth rounds -- and he was promptly turned down.

"I told him (Parros) he was up next, and he said, 'No way!' " Boudreau said with a laugh. "He didn't wanna go."

Boudreau turned to Niklas Hagman instead, and we all know how well that turned out.

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