Ducks handed tough road loss against Hurricanes, 6-3

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks allowed 3 unanswered goals to the Hurricanes to end the game and took their first loss of the road trip.

The Ducks headed into Carolina looking to take down a talented Hurricanes team and build off of their previous win against the Predators on Tuesday. Things started off shaky for Anaheim, as goals from Brady Skjei and Andrei Svechnikov put Carolina in front 2-0 after one period of play. In the second, the Ducks would begin the period trading goals to get on the board as they still trailed 3-1. However, consecutive scores from Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano got the Ducks even for the first time all night. The tie game wouldn’t last long, as 2 more goals late in the period from Carolina gave them a 5-3 lead heading into the final period. There would be no comeback buzz for Anaheim, as they were held off in the third period and eventually fell 6-3 for their 10th road loss of the season.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Vatrano scores again, adds on to team-leading mark

As the Ducks fought back to even the score at 3 in the second period, Frank Vatrano found himself right in the middle of the action. He’s been the most impactful player for the Ducks on offense this season and once again made a big play to tie the game. He was able to deliver his 20th score of the season on a power play to temporarily tie the game and give Anaheim new life.

Vatrano is currently in a tie for the 11th-most goals scored in the NHL this season and will be headed to this year’s All-Star Game. It’s the first time in his career that he will get to take place in the festivities, and it comes as the benefit of what has been a great season so far. If the Ducks manage to turn things around and string some wins together, he will certainly end up as a big piece of the puzzle.

Ducks prove ineffective against the replacement goalie

As the momentum seemed to be on the Ducks’ side after storming back to even the score at 3, a goalie change for the Hurricanes switched things up. With 6:04 to go in the second period, Carolina goalie Pyotr Kochetkov went down with what was described as an upper-body injury. Antti Raanta was forced to enter the game and try to stop the Ducks from grabbing a lead. He was able to do just that, as Anaheim would not score for the remainder of the contest. Meanwhile, just 34 seconds after Kochetkov’s exit from the game, the Hurricanes would manage to retake the lead. The replacement goalie Raanta did a nice job in short-notice relief, managing to save all 3 shots put on goal. The Ducks did a poor job all evening at managing to get shots toward the net, registering just 16 total shot attempts compared to the 34 put on display by Carolina. Anaheim will need to do a better job at being aggressive moving forward if they wish to try and keep up with opponents.

Lundestrom scores his first goal of the season

After a lengthy recovery due to a torn Achilles, 24-year-old Isac Lundestrom has found his way back into action. Thursday’s game against Carolina marked just his fifth game back this season, and he was able to get on the board with his first goal since last year.

While it came in the midst of a losing effort, the goal certainly felt good and will do a great deal for his confidence going forward as he tries to leave the injury in the past. After the game, he made remarks about the loss and the process of getting back into the mix on the ice.

Hopefully, Lundestrom will be able to help the rest of the squad as they look to rebound from a slow start to the game and a tough loss. Anaheim will be back in action on Saturday as they take on another solid team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay is currently 21-17-5 and sits in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

The game is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. PT.