Sliding Ducks close trip in Carolina

( - The Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks will try to salvage the finale of a five-game road trip on Thursday night as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Ducks are 1-2-1 on their trip, losing three straight since a big win over the NHL-leading Nashville Predators to begin the swing. Anaheim's latest defeat came on Tuesday, a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.

Florida put the game away by scoring twice in a 22-second span in the second period as Anaheim was undone by shaky goaltending. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three goals on eight shots in the start, while John Gibson came in during the second frame and yielded three goals on 18 shots.

Tim Jackman and Kyle Palmieri had the goals in defeat.

"We had a game plan that we needed to execute, and came out a little flat," said Palmieri. "We took some penalties in the first period and that cost us the game."

Bryzgalov got the start and Gibson was added to the roster because Frederik Andersen was placed on injured reserve because of an upper-body injury sustained in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay.

Andersen was forced to exit the Ducks' 5-3 loss to the Lightning in the third period when he was struck in the back of the head by the crossbar of a falling net. The 25-year-old is among the league leaders in starts and wins, going 29-8-5 with a 2.37 goals against average and .916 save percentage in 44 games.

Both Jakob Silfverberg (flu-like symptoms) and Hampus Lindholm (lower body) are questionable tonight for the Ducks, who still lead the Pacific Division by 11 points over San Jose despite having dropped three straight games for the first time since Nov. 15-18.

Anaheim has not lost four games in a row this season and will try to beat the Carolina Hurricanes for the seventh time in nine meetings tonight. The Ducks last home game was a 5-4 overtime victory against the Hurricanes on Feb. 3.

Corey Perry had two goals and an assist for the Ducks, while Andersen had 28 saves.

That loss to the Ducks was part of a 2-1-1 road trip for the Hurricanes, who won the final two games of the swing following the setback in Anaheim. That includes Saturday's 5-4 decision over the Sharks.

Andrej Sekera and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and an assist, while Eric Staal, Andrej Nestrasil and Victor Rask all scored. Cam Ward allowed four goals on 27 shots.

Carolina rebounded to win the game in regulation despite blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period. Sekera's goal with 4:51 to play put Carolina back up for good.

"It was a good job staying with it, and we ended up on the right side of the win," Staal told Carolina's website.

Carolina played without defenseman Ryan Murphy due to a leg injury and placed the blueliner on injured reserve Tuesday. He is expected to be out four weeks, but will not require surgery.

Ward is 2-1-1 with a 2.98 GAA and .915 save percentage in his career versus the Ducks.