After epitomizing the definition of back-and-forth hockey for 65 minutes, the Ducks settled for their second consecutive shootout loss, 4-3 to the Ottawa Senators.
Since beating the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center on Nov. 27, the Ducks have posted five straight losses to fall to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. That’s deceptively dire — parity across the league has left the 15th-place Ducks eight points out of the final playoff spot — but it’s producing the usual sense of urgency.
“It’s desperation for us right now,” forward Corey Perry acknolwedged. “We’re at the 30-game mark. We have to put something together and go on a run here or we’re going to be out of it pretty soon.”
The Ducks got one goal from each member of their top line — Joffrey Lupul, Ryan Getzlaf and Perry — and each came less than a minute after an Ottawa goal.
Getzlaf needed 15 seconds to answer Jarku Ruutu’s goal at 12:01 of the first period. Lupul took only 29 seconds to tie the game at 2 after Jason Spezza made it 2-1. Perry wasted an entire 50 seconds after Filip Kuba buried a wrister in the slot at 1:04 of the third.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 26 of 29 but was one worse than Ottawa counterpart Brian Elliott in the shootout, allowing goals to Daniel Alfredsson and Alex Kovalev. Only Getzlaf scored on the other end.
Regardless of the opponent, the script has been the same for the Ducks: Hang around for most of the game, then ultimately fall short. All five games during the losing streak (and nine of their last 10) have been tied at some point in the third period.
“The reality is we’re not that far off,” said Giguere. “We’re right there. It’s a turnover here, a bad goal here, one play in one game that makes a difference. We just have to make them go our way.”
Just as real is the fact that the Ducks needed the luckiest goal of the game to keep pace with a slumping team — Getzlaf was merely trying to dump in the puck when it hit off a stanchion and caromed into the goal behind Elliott at 12:16 of the first period. (Elliott, for his part, posted his first win in four appearances, a span in which he’s allowed 16 goals.)
Just as troubling were 11 giveaways by the Ducks, including one by Wisniewski behind the net that led to Ruutu’s goal. The defenseman finished with three giveaways, the most of anyone on either team.
“We had our opportunities in the hockey game and didn’t get the job done,” head coach Randy Carlyle said.