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Whitney leads Hurricanes to sixth win in seven games

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Rod Brind'Amour seemed a little
uncomfortable with all the attention, whether it was the pregame
ceremony to honor his 1,000 career points or the Carolina
Hurricanes pronouncing it "Rod Brind'Amour Night."

Still, the captain just can't help but get noticed once the puck
is dropped.

Brind'Amour scored a tying goal and assisted on the go-ahead
score while linemates Ray Whitney and Justin Williams continued
their strong play to lead the Hurricanes past the Anaheim Ducks,
4-2 on Friday night.

Whitney had a goal and two assists for Carolina, which bounced
back from a loss at Buffalo on Thursday to win for the sixth time
in seven games. Williams also had a goal and an assist, while Erik
Cole scored an empty-netter to seal it in a matchup of the
defending Stanley Cup champions and the NHL's top team.

Cam Ward finished with 25 saves for the Hurricanes, who held off
the Ducks' strong power play and turned in a steady all-around
performance.

Still, the night belonged to Brind'Amour, an 18-year veteran.

"I'm very appreciative of the whole thing, that they would put
it on, the response I got [from fans]," Brind'Amour said of the
pregame ceremony. "There's not much more you can say. I don't know
that it's all that deserving, but life's about moments and that's
one I'll cherish."

During the pregame ceremony to mark his 1,000th career point,
which Brind'Amour surpassed in November against Ottawa, Carolina
president and general manager Jim Rutherford and NHL senior vice
president of hockey operations Jim Gregory presented Brind'Amour
with gifts to commemorate the milestone while the team showed a
video montage of Brind'Amour's career.

His teammates watched from the bench and seemed to get more of a
thrill from it than he did.

"The guy who was least excited about 'Rod Brind'Amour Night'
was probably Rod Brind'Amour," Williams said. "He wants to sweep
things under the rug and say it's no big deal. But it's a heck of
an accomplishment and we're happy and honored we're able to share
it with him."

Added coach Peter Laviolette, "I had goose bumps just standing
on the bench watching that. It's just an amazing career still
unfolding."

Brind'Amour set up the winner, beating two Anaheim players to
the puck outside the blue line and finding Whitney to start a push.
Whitney skated in on the right, then sent a centering pass to
Williams, who charged in on the left side and beat Michael Wall for
a 3-2 lead at 6:57 of the second period.

His linemates were just as good. Williams assisted on Whitney's
first-period goal, while Whitney returned the favor on Williams'
putaway in the second. Whitney also got an assist when Brind'Amour
redirected his shot on the power play to tie it.

"You can see why he's the leader of that team," said Wall, a
rookie who had 23 saves in place of injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
"Seeing that kind of line makes your job a lot harder, when
they're getting it in their end, cycling it down low and getting
opportunities."

It was the latest strong performances from Williams and Whitney.
In the past six games, Williams has had five goals and an assist
while Whitney has had two goals and seven assists.

"They're hot," Laviolette said. "They're getting a lot of
scoring chances. They're cashing in on a lot of those scoring
chances. They're three skilled players and I think they're finding
a groove with each other."

Teemu Selanne scored a pair of quick goals that gave the Ducks a
2-1 lead early in the second period. But Anaheim couldn't get its
No. 3-rated power play going, going just 1-for-6 with the man
advantage.

A win would have allowed the Ducks to tie the 1976-77 Montreal
Canadiens and the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers for the fourth-best
start in NHL history with 64 points in 40 games.

"You're not going to win 82 of them," defenseman Chris Pronger
said. "As long as you learn from the games you lose and learn from
your mistakes..."

Game notes
Carolina D Niclas Wallin left the game in the second period
with an upper-body injury and did not return. ... The Ducks have
scored on the power play in 19 of the last 23 games. ... Anaheim
fell to 7-4-1 when an opponent scores first, while Carolina
improved to 13-3 when scoring first. ... Giguere, 23-4-5 with a
2.17 goals-against average, was injured in Tuesday's win against
San Jose and is day-to-day with a strained groin.