The Carolina Hurricanes were rested and playing at home.
The Anaheim Ducks were desperate and ready to go home.
This night, the desperate team won out.
The Ducks, finishing up a five-game road trip, topped the Canes 2-1 Thursday at PNC Arena to end a three-game losing streak.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin and forward Matt Beleskey scored second-period goals and that was all goaltender John Gibson needed in his first start since late October. Gibson, cool and collected under pressure, had 35 saves.
"He's a good goalie and he's got a good team in front of him," said Canes forward Jeff Skinner, who scored on a second-period power play.
The Canes, who last played Saturday, had good pace and puck movement early in the game and took a 1-0 lead on Skinner's 11th goal of the season and his first power-play score.
But the Ducks (35-14-7), who lead the Pacific Division by a wide margin, quickly fought back -- in more ways than one.
With seven minutes, 14 seconds left in the second period, the Ducks' Tim Jackman dropped the gloves and fought Canes defenseman Tim Gleason.
"That was a real energy fight that turned the game around," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.
No argument from Canes coach Bill Peters, who said, "I thought from the fight on we weren't very good. I didn't think we played with the same pace and intensity."
Beauchemin and Beleskey then scored in roughly a three-minute span as the Ducks, while decisively outshot, began to crowd the crease around Canes goalie Cam Ward and win puck battles.
Beachemin first got a piece of the puck as Beleskey battled with Canes defenseman Brett Bellemore to Ward's left. About three minutes later, Beleskey knocked the puck away from Victor Rask in front of Ward for his 21st of the season.
"It's a play in tight, it's a greasy goal, it's a grinding goal, it's a gritty goal," Peters said of Beleskey's score.
The Canes would finish with a 36-17 shooting edge in the game but couldn't find a way to tie.
"We had some shots but no chances," Peters said. "There wasn't a Grade A (chance) in the third,"
Gibson, 21, starred for Team USA in the 2013 World Junior Championship, earning MVP honors as the U.S took the gold medal. When Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, Gibson was recalled from Norfolk of the AHL and relieved starter Ilya Bryzgalov Tuesday night as Anaheim took a 6-2 road loss against the Florida Panthers.
The Canes (19-27-7), playing their first home game in February, ended a four-game road swing with a 5-4 victory Saturday over the San Jose Sharks. The Canes also earned a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Ducks, albeit losing a 4-2 lead in the third period.
In the second period Thursday, Carolina went on the power play after a strong forechecking shift by the line of Rask, Skinner and Elias Lindholm. Skinner picked up his first point in 11 games, taking a pass from defenseman John-Michael Liles in the right circle and hammering a shot that hit Gibson in the chest and bounced over his shoulder.
"It's been a little frustrating for me on the (power play)," said Skinner, who had a game-high seven shots.
The Canes pulled Ward in the final two minutes of the game and had a 6-on-4 advantage after the Ducks' Ryan Kesler was penalized for hooking. But Gibson was too tough.
"We were ready to go," the Canes' Eric Staal said. "We were well-rested and I thought our jump was good. We had enough offensive chances to score. We just didn't score (enough)."