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At the Rink: Ducks at Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- After putting in a hard practice on Wednesday, the Anaheim Ducks will face the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night to complete a five-game road trip.

Part of the practice focused on defensive-zone responsibilities, following consecutive losses in which the Ducks allowed 11 combined goals to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, leaving Anaheim 1-2-1 on its road trip.

"You always hit points during the year where you get a little lazy, not necessarily paying attention to all the details that make a difference," said Ryan Getzlaf, whose overtime goal on Feb. 3 sealed a 5-4 home win against Carolina.

"It's not necessarily D-zone coverage that fails," he said. "Usually when you get scored on, it's a breakdown before you get to that point. So we wanted to shore up our neutral zone, as well as getting back and retrieving pucks and getting out of our zone faster."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau blamed some of the sloppiness on scheduling demands.

"Sometime over time, things start to slide when you don't have practice time," he said. "You need good practice time to get the ship turned around a bit. This is a group that, over the last three years, doesn't like to lose. They're a group that's willing to listen, to learn."

The challenge of facing Anaheim is still fresh in Carolina's memory. The Hurricanes squandered a 4-2 lead in the third period before giving up Getzlaf's game-winner.

"We're playing them real close in proximity, so that's nice," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We'll use head-to-head clips in our pre-scout because they're more effective, we feel. They've got some big bodies that take it to the net and pay the price to score. So we will have our hands full tonight."

With a 9-3-3 mark in 2015, the Hurricanes have salvaged something positive after a bad start.

"These guys come at you with a lot of team speed and put a lot of pressure on you defensively," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "Over these last few weeks, they're as good as anyone."

Here are the projected lineups.

DUCKS

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano- Rickard Rakell - Jakob Silfverberg

Devante Smith-Pelly - Nate Thompson - Tim Jackman

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin

Hampus Lindholm - Ben Lovejoy

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

John Gibson

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Rene Bourque, Eric Brewer

Injured: Frederik Andersen (upper body)

HURRICANES

Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Jiri Tlusty

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Andrej Nestrasil - Alexander Semin

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Patrick Dwyer

Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey - Brett Bellemore

John-Michael Liles - Tim Gleason

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Riley Nash, Chris Terry

Injured: Ryan Murphy (leg)

Status report: After the demanding practice on Wednesday, Anaheim's morning skate was optional. Getzlaf and Perry did not skate. ... Silfverberg (flu) and Lindholm (lower body) return to the Anaheim lineup after missing one game. … Center William Karlsson was assigned to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

Who's hot: Getzlaf has two goals and two assists in his past three games. ... Perry has four goals in his past five games. ... Faulk had three assists in a 5-4 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. ... Jordan Staal has one goal and six assists in his past seven games.

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