With one final game on their road trip, the Ducks would love to enter their nine-day break on a high note. Tonight they find themselves in Raleigh, where they'll take on the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (4:30 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830).
The Ducks are coming off one of their best performances in weeks, a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators last night at Bridgestone Arena. A couple familiar faces returned to the lineup, including the club's beloved fourth line center. After missing 12 games with a sprained AC joint, Derek Grant scored his third career shorthanded goal (all this season) and led the team with five shots on goal in 11:39 TOI.
"It's always fun to get back," Grant said after the win last night. "The time you sit out seems a lot longer than when you're playing. I was excited to get back. I thought we did a great job tonight. It's a stepping stone for us in the right direction. We're looking to build off this."
They're facing a Hurricanes team that's coming off a 3-2 loss last night in Columbus. They're currently in the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 56 points, but the biggest - most devastating - news surrounding the club is the injury to defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Carolina's All-Star blueliner broke his left fibula during last night's game when he and Columbus forward Kevin Stenlund got tangled up along the boards. Among all NHL defensemen, Hamilton ranks tied for second in goals (14), fourth in points (40) and tied for seventh in assists (26). He also ranks second among all NHL skaters in plus-minus (+30), and was averaging a career-best 23:17 TOI before his injury.
"Arguably one of our best players this year," Canes forward Jordan Martinook said in this story posted on the team's official website. "He's our All Star. It shook everybody up seeing that happen. It's the cliché hockey next-man-up type thing, but that's a lot of big minutes to find. Guys will have to step up, and hopefully we can get him back sooner rather than later."
This is the finale of the two-game season series between the two clubs, which opened with a 4-2 Ducks victory on Oct. 18 at Honda Center. The Ducks own a 22-14-3 all-time record vs. Carolina, including a 10-7-2 mark on the road. They've won six of their last seven against the Canes dating to Nov. 10, 2016 (6-1-0), and have gone 9-2-0 in their last 11. Anaheim has also won a club-record five straight at PNC Arena dating to Feb. 12, 2015. Adam Henrique (12g/3a in 26 games) and Ryan Getzlaf (6g/9a in 20 GP) co-lead active Ducks in career scoring vs. Carolina.