Rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin’s first career NHL goal was the offensive highlight of the night for the 9,305 in attendance, while goaltender Eddie Lack made 16 saves.
Shawn Horcoff’s third goal of the season gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at the 11:23 mark of the first period.
It was an opening frame composed of much chip n’ chase and little chance as the Ducks narrowly outshot the Hurricanes 5-4.
“It was close-checking both ways in the first,” Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters said.
“I thought their gaps were good, so you really couldn’t gain the zone with possession, you had to put it in behind them. It was a close-checking first period for sure.”
A booming slap shot from Hanifin cleanly beat former Carolina netminder Anton Khudobin from the left point and tied the score 1-1 at the 3:38 mark of the second period.
“It was nice to get it,” Hanifin said.
“I’ll remember that forever. It’s tough havin’ that happen and not gettin’ the win.”
In scoring the goal, Hanifin became the youngest defenseman (18 years, 295 days) to score a goal in franchise history – a recognition that previously belonged to Dana Murzyn (18 years, 325 days).
Joakim Nordstrom and Michal Jordan earned assists on the play.
It was the only goal Khudobin allowed in posting a 24-save performance for the win that was supported by an offensive output that eventually doubled the Ducks’ current scoring average.
Sami Vatanen gave Anaheim the lead back when he faked a shot and skated past a sprawling Ron Hainsey before beating Lack to the stick side, just below the blocker.
Ryan Getzlaf and Carl Hagelin helped set up the goal as Anaheim led 2-1 with 6:52 remaining in the period.
The Ducks carried the one-goal advantage into the second intermission, despite being outshot 10-4 in the period by the Hurricanes.
While Carolina tested Khudobin during the first five minutes of the third, Hagelin came close to putting the game out of reach, but hit the post to Lack’s right after using the defense as a screen on the play.
Horcoff got a chance to do the same near the midpoint of the period, but Lack robbed him with a glove save on the shot redirect attempt.
Hagelin completed his three-point night when he beat Lack with a wraparound between the pads with 3:49 remaining.
“You look at their first goal and their third goal, when you’re feelin’ it, those are the kind of shots that are bouncin’ your way, and it’s not really doing that right now,” Lack said.
“I just gotta keep workin’ hard and it’s gonna turn around eventually.”
Carolina pulled Lack for the extra skater with 90 seconds to go, but an empty-net goal soon after from Getzlaf, his first of the season, finalized the game’s scoring and the win for Anaheim.
It was another game of lost offensive opportunities as Carolina finished 0-for-3 on the power play.
“You know what…probably don’t have enough shots,” Peters said in response to the question of what wasn’t translating for his team with the man-advantage.
“Once you shoot, you’re able to get motion; once you have motion on retrievals, you’re able to break teams down. But you have to shoot to break them down, and probably to be a bit more hungry as far as findin’ those rebounds and those seconds and third-shot opportunities. That’s somethin’ we’ll have to look at again. We’ll have to look at possibly a third unit – maybe get a spark from some guys who haven’t had much of a chance on it.”
As the team’s lone scorer in the game, the Hurricanes rookie defenseman echoed his coach’s comments.
“We need to score more goals,” Hanifin added.
“I think all of us just need to start shootin’ the puck more, and once we start doin’ that, good things will happen.”