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Hurricanes Blow By Ducks

It's ironic Carolina's recent recommitment to defense ended with a game-winning goal from -- of all people -- a defenseman.

Nolan Pratt scored his first NHL goal with 11:43 left as the Hurricanes won their third straight, beating the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-1 Sunday night.

"It's a little bonus, but it's nice just to get one," Pratt said when asked about his game-winner. "I thought I was going to go all year without one. You can't beat a game-winner."

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    Forum: Is it good defense -- or a great goalie?

  • It was the first goal by a Carolina defenseman in 12 games and the first by Pratt in 43 games spanning three seasons.

    "I hope you guys remember it because there ain't going to be too many following that one," Pratt joked with reporters.

    After losing six of eight, Carolina has given up just two goals in its last three games after a team meeting that centered on playing better defense.

    "We've got it back together. We struggled a little last week," said Pratt. "Guys have made a commitment to defense first. We're going to get opportunities as long as we keep the puck out of our net."

    Jeff O'Neill's empty-net goal with 22.5 seconds left sealed it for Carolina.

    The 36 shots tied a season high for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes and helped hand the Mighty Ducks their third consecutive loss midway through a six-game road trip.

    "We did a lot of good things and didn't get anything for it, and that's obviously not what we came here to do," said Mighty Ducks coach Craig Hartsburg.

    Paul ariya, tied for the NHL scoring lead with 29 points coming into the contest, had his league-high 11-game point streak snapped. He had scored seven goals and nine assists for 16 points during his hot spell.

    Kariya was stopped with 7:40 left when by Arturs Irbe made a glove save on the left wing from point-blank range. Less than a minute later, Irbe denied Kariya's linemate, Steve Rucchin, with a sprawling save.

    Irbe also made four saves on a late Anaheim power play to preserve the victory, stopping 30 of 31 shots.

    "My teammates kept their cool and let me see the shots," Irbe said of Anaheim's final attack.

    The Mighty Ducks were called for a delayed penalty on the Pratt goal, but the Hurricanes were able to keep control of the puck. Paul Ranheim tipped a pass by Adam Burt to the right point, where Pratt skated to the top of the circle and let a blast go that found the upper left corner of the net past a screened Guy Hebert.

    The score was tied 1-1 after two periods as each team scored a freak goal.

    Ron Francis broke his six-game pointless streak when his shot from a poor angle ricocheted off defenseman Jamie Pushor and past a surprised Hebert. The first-period power-play goal was only the third point by the $21 million free-agent signee from Pittsburgh in the past 16 games and his fifth goal in 24 games.

    The Mighty Ducks tied the score with 6:55 left in the second period when an innocent floating shot from the point by Travis Green ricocheted off the leg of Pratt and between the legs of Irbe.

    "That was a bad bounce and those things happen," Pratt said. "I kind of owed Arturs there. It was kind of a downer."

    Anaheim had its streak of scoring at least one power-play goal snapped at seven straight games as the Mighty Ducks were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

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