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Ducks try to get back on track vs. Hurricanes

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (15-5-1) at HURRICANES (7-7-4)


Last 10: Anaheim 7-2-1; Carolina 4-5-1

Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the teams. The Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes franchises have split their 26 meetings, with each team winning 12 times and two games ending in ties.

Big story: Life on the road has been tough for the Ducks this week. They were swept in a pair of games in Florida and have battled a flu outbreak that has swept through the team. Carolina is 3-0-1 after a five-game losing streak.

Team Scope:

Ducks: The flu-ridden Ducks will not have fond memories of their three-day swing through the Sunshine State. Two nights after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing 3-2 to the Florida Panthers, they were routed 5-1 by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

"We're doing everything we can to keep the guys who are healthy, healthy. And [we're] making sure the guys who are coming down with the flu or sickness are getting back into the lineup," forward Emerson Etem said. "We're doing everything in that aspect. Hopefully we'll be 100-percent in the next couple of games."

The Ducks have lost the first two of a four-game swing through the East. Etem hopes the memory of their eight-game trip earlier in the season can provide a boost.

"The positive is we started out the last road trip 0-and-2 and we finished off strong," he said. "That's our goal, to get two big wins coming up. We've just got to get back to playing the game we know we can play. That's playing simple, getting a lot of shots on net and getting the shots on net early. We're going to get back to that."

Hurricanes: Carolina is not only getting better, it's getting healthier.

Defenseman Tim Gleason and forward Jeff Skinner are practicing, and starting goaltender Cam Ward is expected dress as a backup this weekend. Their return will give coach Kirk Muller a different challenge -- how to deal with extra players.

"At the beginning of the year … we had to get some guys in. Everyone has to feel a part of it and it was early in an 82-game schedule. Now, if the team's going well and winning, you have to wait and fight to get back in the lineup," Muller told the team's website Thursday. "This is one of the first times where we're getting close to that situation where we have extra bodies. Depending on scenarios of if everyone's healthy, if you're playing well, you stay in. We've got to roll with what's working."

Who's hot: Etem had the Ducks' lone goal against the Lightning and has points in his past three games. … Goaltender Justin Peters has allowed four goals during the Hurricanes' 3-0-1 streak.

Injury report: Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has missed three games with an upper-body injury, though he may be ready to go on Friday or Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Saku Koivu (head), Jacob Silfverberg (broken hand) and Sheldon Souray (wrist) are out. Corey Perry played Thursday despite the flu, and goaltender Jonas Hiller and forward Daniel Winnik have been battling illness. … Gleason and Skinner have been out with upper-body injuries. Ward and backup goaltender Anton Khudobin have been sidelined with lower-body injuries.

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