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Ducks close out successful swing at Hurricanes

The Anaheim Ducks will try to close out a successful road trip on a positive note when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's interconference battle at RBC Center.

The Ducks are 4-1-2 so far on an eight-game trip, improving their road record this year to 10-12-8. All told, Anaheim has been playing excellent hockey since early January, compiling a 15-3-4 mark over its last 22 outings.

Despite the lengthy surge, the Ducks are still sitting 13th in the Western Conference, but they are only six points out of the West's final postseason berth.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have posted a solid 5-1-2 record in February and are just eight points out of a playoff spot in the East, despite being the lowest seed in the conference.

Anaheim suffered its first regulation loss of the road trip on Tuesday, when it dropped a 3-2 decision in Tampa. The NHL's leading goal-scorer Steven Stamkos had two tallies and an assist to lift the Lightning to the win.

Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu both posted a goal and an assist for the Ducks, while Jonas Hiller was touched for all three goals on just 16 shots in the loss.

"Against a team like that you have to be really careful because they can score on any shift," said Ryan. "Especially that top line with Stamkos, you have to keep your eye on him all the time and we didn't do a good job of that."

Following tonight's test, the Ducks will return to the West Coast to host Chicago on Sunday. Three of Anaheim's next four games will take place on home ice.

The Hurricanes began a six-game homestand in impressive fashion on Monday, as they slammed the rival Washington Capitals, 5-0. Eric Staal had two goals and an assist, while Justin Peters earned his first career NHL shutout in the lopsided victory in Raleigh.

Carolina managed to chase Washington goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the game just 5:09 into the first period after goals by Justin Faulk and Anthony Stewart gave the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.

Andreas Nodl also had a goal, while Peters, who was playing in place of injured starter Cam Ward, picked up his first NHL shutout in his 26th career game. He had 17 saves in the easy victory, which improved Carolina's home record this year to 16-12-3.

"It feels great," said Peters. "It was a complete effort by everyone tonight and I'm going to enjoy it."

Ward did not suit up for Monday's game due to a lower-body injury and Carolina recalled Mike Murphy from its AHL affiliate in Charlotte to serve as the backup. However, Ward could return to action tonight.

Anaheim posted a 3-2 overtime win against the Hurricanes when Carolina visited Orange County on Feb. 8. Corey Perry scored the game-winner in OT to lift the Ducks to their third win four tries versus the Hurricanes. Carolina has claimed two of the last three matchups in Raleigh.