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Carolina Hurricanes 2, Anaheim Ducks 3 FINAL @NHLdotcom

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The Anaheim Mighty Ducks looked at the Carolina Hurricanes as a blueprint for getting to the Stanley Cup finals. Now they seem to be following their pattern in the other direction.

Samuel Pahlsson got the go-ahead goal with 4:23 left in the third period and Vaclav Prospal scored for the ninth time in 10 games as Anaheim rallied for a 3-2 victory over Carolina on Wednesday night.

The Ducks staggered to the All-Star break 13th in the Western Conference with a 17-23-8-7 record after coming within one victory of winning the Cup last June.

But now, they appear to be heading toward the same fate as the Hurricanes, who were 17-25-6-5 at the All-Star break the season after going to the finals and missed the playoffs.

``Last season was a long one and you don't get a lot of time to regroup before the next season is upon you, and then teams are gunning for you. So it's tough to repeat,'' Ducks captain Steve Rucchin said.

``But at the same time, we're not playing anywhere near the way we did last year and the way we're capable of. So it's frustrating. Some nights we have it and other nights we don't _ and you can't have that.''

Anaheim general manager Bryan Murray couldn't help but notice the parallels between themselves and the Hurricanes _ and the aftermath of their respective trips to the finals.

``A lot of the same things that happened to them happened to us _ injuries, goaltending issues _ we got behind the 8-ball for a while and couldn't get it going,'' Murray said. ``I actually looked at them as an example of a team that we didn't want to be like after our run, because they had a big hangover from the year before.''

Carolina goalie Kevin Weekes, who joined the Hurricanes a month before their 2002 playoff run, expects Anaheim to snap out of its first-half funk _ especially after facing 43 shots.

``Bryan Murray knows how to build good teams, and he's done that here,'' Weekes said. ``They're underachieving a little, but they have the talent. They are a hungry team with a lot of guys who don't quit, and they showed that tonight.''

Defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski had a goal and an assist, Jason Krog had two assists and Martin Gerber made 22 saves for the Ducks.

Josef Vasicek had a power-play goal and Erik Cole scored short-handed for the Hurricanes, 9-14-2 since Peter Laviolette replaced Paul Maurice as coach on Dec. 15.

Anaheim tied it for the second time at 10:23 of the second period, as Vishnevski jumped into the play and converted Krog's centering pass in the low slot after Lance Ward knocked Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley off the puck behind the net. It was Vishnevski's career-high fourth goal and his eighth in 309 NHL games.

Pahlsson converted his own rebound at the edge of the crease after Krog set up his backhander in the low slot.

``Giving one up that late really hurt,'' Weekes said. ``They were really generating chances tonight. They had at least three or four right before they got the game-winner.''

Vasicek opened the scoring at 4:10 of the first period, ending Carolina's 0-for-18 drought on the power play against Anaheim. Ducks forward Casey Hankinson was serving a holding-the-stick penalty when Vasicek redirected Sean Hill's 45-foot wrist shot from the slot over Gerber's glove for his 15th goal.

Prospal pulled the Ducks even with six seconds left on a two-man advantage, converting a thread-the-needle pass through the crease from Petr Sykora for his 15th goal after staggered penalties against Vasicek for elbowing and Hill for delay of game. The Ducks are 11-for-32 on the power play over their last seven games, after going 0-for-25 in their previous eight contests.

Hill was still serving his penalty when teammate Rod Brind'Amour broke out of the Anaheim zone with the puck and set up Cole's fourth career short-handed goal.

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