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Ducks gunning for 6th straight win vs. Hurricanes
A month ago, the Anaheim Ducks were coming off a seven-game losing streak and it seemed Randy Carlyle's job as head coach was in serious jeopardy.
The Ducks have turned things around, however, and can match the longest winning streak in Carlyle's 13-year NHL head coaching career with a win against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
The Ducks (15-10-15) have won a season-high five straight games to climb near the top of the Pacific Division standings.
Carlyle has won six games in a row several times during his career, most recently with the Toronto Maple Leafs from Dec. 6-16, 2014, and with the Ducks during his first stint in Anaheim from Nov. 3-12, 2010, but he has never won seven straight.
Anaheim's season began with a number of veterans recovering from injuries and several rookies in the lineup. The Ducks still managed a 5-1-1 start before spiraling into the seven-game skid.
When coaches for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks were fired during the first week of November, it seemed Carlyle could be next, but the Ducks regrouped during the middle of last month and are 7-1-2 since Nov. 16.
"Just finding ways," Carlyle said following a 4-2 win against the visiting Blackhawks on Wednesday. "We're feeling good about ourselves. We're not proclaiming we're anything more than a work in progress. We're a hockey club that has confidence."
Carolina (12-11-4) has experienced smaller peaks and valleys this season. After beginning the season 4-0-1, the Hurricanes experienced a five-game losing streak, then went through a 6-2-1 stretch before hitting another wall recently.
The Hurricanes have lost their past three games, a streak that began with a 2-1 overtime loss to the visiting Ducks on Friday. They'll try to salvage a win on their three-game California trip that began with a 2-0 loss to the Kings on Sunday and continued with a 5-1 loss at the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
The Hurricanes have combined for five goals in the past five games to drop to 29th in the league in scoring (2.44), one spot ahead of Anaheim (2.40).
"You've got to keep competing," Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk told reporters after the loss in San Jose. "The old saying is you have to work for your chances and work for your bounces. When it's not going your way, you have to dig even deeper. It's not necessarily trying different things, but keep grinding and keep competing. Keep it simple and get to the net."
Anaheim has combined for 10 goals in its past two games and its front office continues to look for ways to upgrade the offense.
The Ducks claimed left winger Pontus Aberg off waivers on Oct. 1 and he became a regular member of the lineup on Oct. 20. He has a team-leading nine goals and enters Friday with five points (three goals, two assists) in a three-game point streak.
Anaheim then traded rookie defenseman Marcus Pettersson to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday in exchange for right wing Daniel Sprong. He scored on his second shift with the Ducks in the win against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, hitting the top of the net from a difficult angle.
"I'm really excited for the new opportunity," he said. "When I found out I got traded to Anaheim, I was really excited. I'm really excited to be here and help the team win."
Updated December 6, 2018