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Resilient Hurricanes ready for Ducks' visit

by Mike G. Morreale /
DUCKS (17-14-4) at HURRICANES (14-12-4)


Last 10 -- Anaheim 6-3-1; Carolina 5-3-2

Season series -- This is the teams' only meeting this season. In their only game last season, Nov. 25, 2009, the Ducks scored twice in the third period to break a 1-1 tie en route to a 3-2 victory at the Honda Center.

Big story -- If the Carolina Hurricanes hope to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for only the second time in five seasons, their stars will have to shine. In particular, goalie Cam Ward, who was pulled less than two minutes into his game against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday after yielding two goals on five shots. He answered the bell Thursday, however, coming up with 45 saves, including 18 in the first period, in leading the Hurricanes to a 3-2 shootout victory against the Atlanta Thrashers. It was Carolina's second straight come-from-behind win and third straight victory overall. The Hurricanes were outshot in every period against the Thrashers, including 5-0 in overtime, but Ward was there every time. Ward, who started his ninth consecutive game, improved to 2-2 in shootouts.

Team Scope:

Ducks --
Right wing Teemu Selanne, who has missed the past four games and nine of the past 13 because of a recurring groin issue, has appeared in only 26 of the team's 35 games this season. However, he still ranks third on the team with 28 points, and his 10 goals are tied for fourth.

After notching a 2-1 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, a Ducks rally fell short in a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Ducks spotted the Islanders a 3-0 lead, and goals by Joffrey Lupul and Jason Blake got them close, but they couldn't get the equalizer and suffered their first loss in four games.

Hurricanes -- Carolina returns home after going 3-1-1 on a five-game road swing, which concluded Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory against Southeast Division rival Atlanta at Philips Arena. The clubs met for the first time this season after splitting six games in 2009-10, when the visiting club won every game.

The Hurricanes have outscored the opposition 5-0 in the third period of the last two games and take a season-high three-game winning streak into Saturday's game.

Who's hot -- Anaheim defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has points in four of the last five games, producing a goal and 5 assists during the run and now has 4 goals and 26 points for the season. He's tied for the team lead in assists (22) with Ryan Getzlaf. Visnovsky needs three more goals to reach 100 for his career.

Injury report -- Carolina defenseman Jay Harrison has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury and is out indefinitely. … Selanne (groin) is day-to-day, and forward Aaron Voros is out 3-4 weeks with a fractured orbital bone.

Stat pack -- Carolina defenseman Jamie McBain has points in back-to-back games for only the second time this season. He assisted a Brandon Sutter goal 26 seconds into the third period in the win against Atlanta on Thursday and scored his first goal of the season 7:02 into the third of a 4-3 defeat of Florida on Wednesday.

Puck drop -- Hurricanes captain Eric Staal could sense goalie Cam Ward was due for a bounce-back performance against the Thrashers on Thursday after being pulled 24 hours earlier in the first period after allowing two goals on five shots.

"He came (into the Atlanta game) with a little attitude, and he showed why he's an elite goalie in this League," Staal said. Ward now is 11-3 at Philips Arena and 16-8-2 against the Thrashers.
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