Down 4-2 with less than 15 minutes to play, the Ducks fought back on goals by Devante Smith-Pelly and Corey Perry to force overtime. Ryan Getzlaf scored 45 seconds into the extra period to win it, saving the Ducks from a season-long three-game losing streak.
“It's not very pretty but we'll take it,” Perry said with a sigh.
Added Getzlaf: “The fact that we found a way to win is a good thing. And maybe it's a wake-up call.”
The Ducks certainly seemed to be sleepwalking through long portions of Tuesday's game before waking up in the third period.
Twice Carolina enjoyed two-man advantages in the third period. Twice the Ducks' penalty kill kept the Hurricanes from scoring.
It was a game that had a little bit of everything, including a penalty shot — which Brad Malone converted to give Carolina a one-goal lead.
And a minute later, when Jordan Staal doubled the advantage, the Ducks' night seemed over.
But they didn't quit.
“We've been a resilient group. We've just got to keep playing all the time,” Getzlaf said.
Even at their best, the Ducks have had little margin for error this season, with 23 of their league-best 33 wins coming by one goal. And they haven't been at their best lately.
After a scoreless first period, Perry scored 37 seconds into the second period to give the Ducks their first lead since Thursday's game in San Jose.
Carolina's Alexander Semin and Jay McClement briefly stole both that lead and the Ducks' momentum, with goals less than three minutes apart midway through the period to put the Hurricanes in front, 2-1.
But that advantage was short-lived too, as Ryan Kesler deflected in a slap shot from Hampus Lindholm less than six minutes before the second intermission.
After the Ducks exhausted themselves by killing off two penalties in the first four minutes of the final period, Malone and Staal took advantage of that fatigue to give Carolina the two-goal edge.
“After we killed the penalties, we thought we were going to walk away with it,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “[But] you never give up. That's something that I think in the third periods we haven't done at all this year.
“I don't think it's in their character to do that.”
Now would not be a good time to start, with the Ducks heading out on an eight-day, five-city trip that starts Thursday against division-leading Nashville and features another division leader in Tampa Bay as well as playoff contenders in Florida and Washington. It's a trip Perry called the toughest of the season. And one Getzlaf called a test.
“We've got to find a way to just keep pushing forward,” he said, “keep doing the right things and get our legs under us. Get the excitement back in the locker room that we've had all throughout this season.”
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