A little adversity shouldn’t pose much of a problem for a team off to one of the best starts in league history. At least that’s what the Anaheim Ducks are hoping.
The Ducks figure to be without their top two goaltenders Friday as they continue a five-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Ducks (28-5-6) have established themselves as the class of the NHL thus far with a league-leading and franchise-record 62 points after 39 games.
Anaheim had one of its most impressive wins of the season Tuesday, overcoming an injury to top goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere in a 4-3 victory at San Jose.
“You get a number of guys going down, and certainly the bench shortens up,” defenseman Chris Pronger said. “Coming back right after Christmas, guys had to dig down. We kept it simple, didn’t try to get outside ourselves. We had to bear down.”
Giguere, the NHL leader with 23 wins, skated off gingerly late in the second period and is listed as day-to-day with a groin strain. Giguere’s injury is magnified because regular backup Ilya Bryzgalov has been sidelined nearly a month with a recurring groin problem.
While the 21-year-old Wall is expected to make his second NHL start Friday, Anaheim picked up some insurance Thursday by acquiring veteran goalie Sebastien Caron in a multiplayer deal with Chicago.
Caron, 26, appeared in one game for the Blackhawks this season, stopping 24 of 25 shots in a 3-1 victory over St. Louis on Nov. 10. He has played in 91 career games with Pittsburgh and Chicago and has a record of 25-47-12, with four shutouts and a 3.46 goals-against average.
Goaltending isn’t the only area where the Ducks are hurting.
Defenseman Sean O’Donnell missed his second straight game Tuesday with a severed tendon in his right foot, but should be back in the lineup Friday. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who has been on the top pairing with Scott Niedermayer, is out indefinitely with a lacerated spleen suffered in Tuesday’s win.
“Some people will have to do a little more or get put in different situations,” Niedermayer said. “It’s going to happen, and it’s good to learn how to deal with it as a group.”
The Hurricanes (20-15-4) get a shot at the top team in the Western Conference one night after a 4-1 loss to Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo ended their season-best five-game win streak.
Carolina, which beat the Sabres in the conference finals last season, lost all four games to them in 2006-07.
“Revenge or not, they’ve got a good team,” Hurricanes defenseman Mike Commodore said. “They just had our number in the regular season.”
Justin Williams was held without a point Thursday, ending his career-long, eight-game point streak.
The Ducks allowed only four goals during a four-game win streak in this series before the Hurricanes recorded a 6-2 home victory on Dec. 6, 2005.