The Anaheim Ducks don’t have another game for nine days.
After a 2-1 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, Ducks coach Dallas Eakins would like to change the schedule.
“I wish we were playing the day after tomorrow,” Eakins said. “I don’t quite understand this break but it’s (throughout) the league and we’ll try the best we can to just keep rolling with this when we do come out of it.”
Sam Steel scored on a breakaway 1:36 into overtime, Erik Gudbranson also had a goal and Ryan Miller stopped 25 shots for Anaheim, which is off until Jan. 27.
Sebastian Aho scored and James Reimer made 35 saves for Carolina, which played its first game without Dougie Hamilton after the All-Star defenseman broke his right leg Thursday at Columbus.
Hamilton has 14 goals, 40 points and ranks second among all skaters with a plus-30 rating this season. The 26-year-old was picked for the All-Star Game for the first time. He had surgery to repair his fibula Friday and is expected to be out for two to three months.
“That’s a huge part of our team missing but I don’t think we were sharp and that was clearly evident,“ Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn had a critical scoring chance in the final seconds of regulation but was stopped by Miller.
After a difficult first part of the season, the Ducks began the night 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.
“To go into a couple of tough buildings on a back-to-back and get two wins is something that I hope we can use as momentum and then come back from the break refreshed and ready to go,“ defenseman Cam Fowler said.
Aho gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 3:59 in the first period. He tipped in a shot from Joel Edmundson.
The Ducks tied it when Ryan Getzlaf skated around the net and attracted Carolina’s defense to the right side of the ice, leaving Gudbranson alone on the left. The defenseman beat Reimer at 18:18 in the first to tie the game at 1-1.
Neither team scored in the second period. Miller made a big save on a short-handed breakaway by Aho early in the period.
“I thought they were the much better team and we couldn’t get out of our own way,“ Brind’Amour said.
Reimer stopped a point-blank shot by Daniel Sprong with 4:45 left in the period to keep the score even.
It has been a difficult first part of the season for the Ducks (19-24-5), but they head into their bye week and the All-Star break with road wins over Nashville and Carolina after losing six of their previous seven games.
“We can at least feel good about ourselves for the week — or whatever it is — that we finished with two very, very good games,“ Eakins said.