Hurricanes-Mighty Ducks Preview
GAME: Carolina Hurricanes (16-8-2) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (12-11-4).
TIME: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
Martin Gerber will likely get the chance to beat the team he broke in with when the struggling Carolina Hurricanes continue their longest road trip of the season against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Gerber had 17 wins in two seasons with Anaheim as the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere before being acquired by the Hurricanes in a June 2004 deal.
The Hurricanes got off to the best start in franchise history with a 14-3-1 mark. Since then, though, Carolina has lost six of its last eight including an 8-4 setback Saturday to the Phoenix Coyotes.
"It was unacceptable," said Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley. "We were out of position, running around instead of letting the puck come to us and being smart about it. Obviously, we have to clean up our end."
In his first 11 games, Gerber was 9-2-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average and two shutouts. But six appearances since Nov. 19, Gerber is just 1-4-1 with a 3.76 GAA and no shutouts.
Carolina has lost four straight to Anaheim, managing just four goals in that span.
The Mighty Ducks are looking for their first five-game winning streak since Dec. 6-18, 2002. Anaheim matched a season-high with its fourth win in a row after a 2-1 win Saturday over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Joffrey Lupul extended his goal-scoring streak to three games and Andy McDonald netted the game-winner with 4:29 to play.
"It was a broken play, the puck was kind of bouncing around, I just tried to get my stick on it," said McDonald, who has three goals and five assists during a seven-game points streak."
Another reason for the Ducks' recent hot streak has been the play of backup netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, who has seen the bulk of playing time while Giguere recovered from a groin injury.
Bryzgalov is 5-1 with a 1.33 GAA in his last six appearances. He has never faced Carolina in his career.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 5): Hurricanes - 34 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Mighty Ducks - 28 points, 4th place, 7 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Hurricanes - Staal, 19 goals, 19 assists and 38 points; Mike Commodore, 53 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Teemu Selanne, 15 goals and 24 points; Scott Niedermayer, 14 assists; Todd Fedoruk, 53 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 5): Hurricanes - Power play: 18.8 percent (32 for 170), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 76.8 percent (116 for 151), 29th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 16 percent (27 for 168), 20th. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (161 for 189), tied for 5th.
GOALTENDERS: Hurricanes - Gerber (10-5-1, 2 SO, 2.59 GAA); Ward (6-3-1,4.05). Mighty Ducks - Bryzgalov (6-8-0, 2.39); Giguere (6-3-4, 2.49).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Mighty Ducks, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 2, 2004; Mighty Ducks, 3-2. At Anaheim, Calif., Vitaly Vishnevski had a goal and an assist while Samuel Pahlsson and Vaclav Prospal also scored for the Ducks.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Hurricanes - 7-4-2 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 10-5-2 at home.