ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Kevyn Adams' few goals are coming in bunches this season.
Adams scored twice in the first period and added a short-handed goal on a breakaway for his second career hat trick, leading the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Tuesday night.
The three goals ended an eight-game drought for the Hurricanes center - whose other three goals this season came on Nov. 17 in a 5-1 win against the New York Rangers. He is the first NHL player to score his first six goals of a season on hat tricks since November 2001, when Alexei Kovalev did it with Pittsburgh.
"You play hard every night and hope the chances are there so you can take advantage," said Adams, who scored a career-high 10 goals in 2003-04. "You want to stay confident and shoot the puck. Sometimes you get going and start feeling good around the net, so you want to keep rolling and not change what you're doing. I've been able to take advantage in those games, so I'll take it. That's for sure."
Martin Gerber made 35 saves in his first start against the team he began his NHL career with in 2002. The Ducks traded him to the Hurricanes in June 2004.
"It was special, the first time back in the place you came from," Gerber said. "It's hard to describe the feeling. You have a lot of good memories and they all come back, but we were here to win a hockey game."
Bret Hedican also had a short-handed goal for Carolina against Ilya Bryzgalov, who replaced Gerber as Jean-Sebastien Giguere's backup in Anaheim. Bryzgalov didn't make it out of the second period after facing 14 shots.
Giguere replaced Bryzgalov and gave up Hedican's goal while Eric Staal was off for tripping. Justin Williams and Staal scored third-period goals, and Rod Brind'Amour had three assists.
The Hurricanes (17-8-2) lead the Southeast Division with 36 points. The franchise, which started out as the Hartford Whalers, is off to its best start after 27 games since switching from the defunct World Hockey Association to the NHL in 1979.
"We've got a really good group. We're unselfish and we're really buying into the team concept," Adams said. "We've had a lot of guys step up and play well. We've been confident right from training camp. And when you have that and you work hard, that's a good combination."
Rob Niedermayer and Francois Beauchemin each had a goal and an assist in the third period for the Ducks, who won their previous four meetings with Carolina. Beauchemin's goal was his first in the NHL.
The Hurricanes stayed out of the penalty box throughout the first period while building a 2-0 lead against a defense that had allowed only one goal in each of its previous four games, and had not yielded a first-period goal in five straight.
Adams scored Carolina's first three goals. The first, at 2:45 of the opening period, was on a one-timer that beat Bryzgalov to the stick side. The second came with 1:11 left in the period, as Adams circled the net and put a short backhander through Bryzgalov's legs from the right of the crease.
"We got frustrated when we were down, and we didn't react like a team that's been having success," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We tried to do too much as individuals, and our lack of execution led to lots of frustration."
Carolina defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, who missed five games with a concussion, was serving a tripping penalty when Adams struck again at 10:21 of the second period following a turnover in the neutral zone.
All three of Adams' goals were set up by Craig Adams, who has one goal and four assists in 12 games since the Hurricanes acquired him from the Ducks on Oct. 3.
"Craig and I have pretty good chemistry together on the ice," Kevin Adams said. "We seem to complement each other pretty well, and tonight we were able to turn it into some goals."
Notes: The Hurricanes scored two short-handed goals for the first time since Dec. 3, 1992, at San Jose. ... The Ducks were trying to sweep a five-game homestand for the first time in franchise history. It was their 20th homestand of five or more games. ... The Hurricanes are 10-0 when they lead after two periods. Anaheim is 0-7 when trailing after 40 minutes. ... The Hurricanes, who came in with the league's second-worst percentage on the penalty kill, didn't allow a power-play goal for the first time in nine games after surrendering five last Saturday at Phoenix. ... Rookie LW Andrew Ladd, who scored in four of Carolina's previous five games, is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery Monday on his right knee.