RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes just didn’t have enough to finish off the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Even while outshooting the Ducks 34-29, the Hurricanes didn’t score on the opportunities they had, particularly with six power plays.
Rookie forward Andrei Svechnikov was the lone scorer for Carolina, while Pontus Aberg and Ryan Getzlaf tallied the tying and winning goals, respectively for Anaheim.
In following up a career-tying save night against Montreal on Wednesday, goaltender Curtis McElhinney was solid in net for the Hurricanes despite suffering his first loss in five starts.
At the other end, John Gibson’s 33-save performance included multiple Grade-A stops that kept Carolina scrambling to build on a 1-0 lead it established on Svechnikov’s sixth goal of the season at the 18:57 mark of the opening period.
“He made some nice saves,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
“Obviously, in the perfect world we would have been up a couple. He made a couple of breakaway saves. He was good – our guy was good too.
“It was a great start for us, then it wasn’t the rest of the way – but not bad. They got a lucky goal to tie it up and then their skilled player took over at that end.”
Stopping 18 shots up to that point in the first period, Gibson finally opened up enough while trying to square up on Svechnikov’s snap shot finish – the 19th shot of the period – on a play set up by Dougie Hamilton and Sebastian Aho.
That was all he would allow for the remainder of the game, a comfort that allowed the Ducks to pull even, albeit on a lucky batted airborne puck late in the third from Aberg.
“Obviously, we were overwhelmed in the first period,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
“We just didn’t do it. We were slow, we did everything, and they had the puck. There was one puck and they wouldn’t give it to us. Luckily enough our goaltender stood on his head and kept us to a one-goal game. We kind of got our feet underneath us and played better in the second and third.”
Outshot 22-13 for the final 40 minutes in regulation, Carolina was unable to pile it on the Ducks, and allowed the eventual comeback for the visiting side to win its fifth in six games.
The Hurricanes put 15 total shots on the power play towards Gibson’s net, and none of them went in.
“He played great tonight, made a lot of huge saves,” McElhinney said of his counterpart at the other end of the ice.
“He gave them an opportunity to win. The team picked up the W for him late in the game. Credit to him tonight.”
“Sure, you can call it a gut punch,” Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk added.
“We didn’t necessarily have the game in the second and third period to win. We didn’t follow up that first period like we needed to. We had a chance on the power play a couple of times, but didn’t have anything going in.”
Peter Koutroumpis: 401-323-8960, @pksport