Ducks squeak past Hurricanes in shootout
RALEIGH, N.C. — Ryan Miller couldn’t wait to get started with the Anaheim Ducks.
The goalie showed the team Sunday why he could be a valuable addition to this season’s team.
In his first action of the season, Miller made 34 saves and seemed to get better as the game went on as the Ducks pulled out a 4-3 shootout victory against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
“I was happy to get going,” Miller said. “I was nervous and anxious and just wanted to get going. They gave me this game and I really wanted to get it.”
Miller made nine saves in overtime and then stopped all three Carolina shootout attempts. He said he worked on defending breakaways as he recovered from a preseason injury that delayed his Ducks debut.
“I was trying to get closer to game ready,” he said.
He looked every bit of that.
Corey Perry scored the lone goal in the shootout, but he seemed most impressed with his new teammate.
“We threw him into the fire for sure and he won that game for us,” Perry said.
Miller stopped breakaways from Sebastian Aho and Victor Rask with less than two minutes left in overtime. Then Anaheim (6-4-1) went to a shootout for the first time this season.
In reference to wanting to secure the victory on Miller’s behalf, Perry said, “especially when he makes that first save on their first shot in the shootout. He has been around. He has played in many games in this league, big games. ... He’s still doing it. We’re glad he’s healthy and ready to go.”
Defenseman Justin Faulk’s slap shot with 1:27 left in the second period gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead on his first goal of the season.
However, with 4:48 to play in regulation, defenseman Jakob Silfverberg’s first goal of the season allowed Anaheim to pull even.
“It wasn’t my best shot,” Silfverberg said. “But it was my first (goal) of the season. I just kind of closed my eyes and shot it.”
Ondrej Kase and Derek Grant scored first-period goals for the Ducks, who were coming off Saturday’s victory at Tampa Bay.
Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal also scored for Carolina, which was trying to win in regulation at home for the first time in five outings this season.
“I would have liked to see us execute better,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “We’ve got two practices (before the road trip). We’ll work on some things.”
Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling made 22 saves.
After scoring only one goal in each of its last two home games, Carolina was more productive.
“Three (goals) is enough to win in this league,” Peters said. “So let’s tighten up. That’s on everybody.”
The Ducks lost captain Ryan Getzlaf to an upper-body injury in the first period.
The Hurricanes (4-4-2) gained momentum in the final minute of the first period, scoring on Skinner’s power play goal with seven seconds left. The sequence began with Derek Ryan’s shot off Miller’s glove before the puck hit the post.
Silfverberg tried to clear it, but the puck hit off Skinner before landing in the net.
Carolina tied it with 6:27 remaining in the second period on Staal’s goal after Aho delivered a pass after circling behind the net.
Anaheim opened the scoring when Kase converted off a faceoff pass from Nick Ritchie. Grant scored when he was left alone on a defensive breakdown, delivering the puck between Darling’s pads.
The Ducks, who totaled 19 goals in their previous four games, bogged down for a long stretch after their efficient first period.
NOTES: The Ducks are 9-1-1 against Carolina in the past 11 meetings. ... The Hurricanes have gone consecutive games without being called for a penalty. ... With seven goals, Hurricanes C Jeff Skinner has the most goals through 10 games of a season in his career. ... C Janne Kuokkanen was in the Carolina lineup for the first time in seven games. RW Josh Jooris was a scratch. ... D Hampus Lindholm is 10th in games played among defensemen in Ducks history with 306. ... Anaheim, which wrapped up a four-game East coast road trip with a 3-1-0 record, returns home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. The Hurricanes play Thursday night at Colorado to begin a two-game road trip.