RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Jordan Staal capped his fourth career hat trick — and first in 10 years — with an empty-net goal and the Carolina Hurricanes settled in defensively after an offense-filled first period to beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 on Sunday night.
Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Martinook also scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes. Svechnikov had an assist and Nino Neiderreiter assisted on two goals.
Staal, whose last three-goal game came on April 18, 2012, at Philadelphia while with Pittsburgh, scored the only goals after the first period, knocking in a rebound at 13:42 of the third and then notching the clincher with 1:08 left.
Frederik Andersen made 23 saves for Carolina.
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour moved into a tie with his former coach, Peter Laviolette, for the second-most regular-season wins in franchise history with 167.
Josh Mahura and Troy Terry scored for the Ducks, who still have back-to-back victories just once since the end of January. John Gibson stopped 38 shots, but has failed to win in his last 12 starts.
The offenses flowed early for both teams.
Svechnikov reached out to get a stick on Brady Skjei’s delivery, redirecting the puck past Gibson just 77 seconds into the game.
Niederreiter connected with Staal by sending a pass from behind the net through the legs of Anaheim defenseman Shattenkirk. Staal did the rest for his 11th goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Mahura, who was a healthy scratch in Anaheim’s 5-3 win a day earlier at Philadelphia, scored his second goal of the season just 65 seconds later.
After Carolina killed an Anaheim power play, the Hurricanes turned a Ducks turnover into Martinook’s goal at 9:30 of the first period.
With congestion in the crease, Terry scored the game’s fifth goal less than 12 minutes into the game on a diving sweep of the puck past Andersen to make it 3-2.
It was the fourth time this season the Hurricanes had at least three goals in the first period.
STAAL OF FAME
Staal, the Carolina captain, has 11 goals in the last 29 games, including multi-goal efforts in two of the last three.
This comes after he managed just two goals in his first 42 outings.
The Ducks have drastically different results against Eastern Conference teams based on divisions, with three such games remaining.
Anaheim dropped to 5-7-3 against Metropolitan Division opponents after the Hurricanes secured the two-game season sweep. However, the Ducks are 9-2-3 vs. Atlantic Division foes.
Ducks: At Florida on Tuesday night.
Hurricanes: At New York Rangers on Tuesday night.