The storyline was different this time, but the result was a familiar one for the Ducks on this six-game road trip.
After allowing an early goal, Anaheim (24-23-7) resiliently battled the Washington Capitals (35-12-6) for 40 minutes, then ran out of gas in an up-and-down third period.
Washington scored a mere 36 seconds into the game when Alexander Ovechkin was inexplicably left alone in front of the net, and easily tapped in a rebound past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was getting a rare start 24 hours after Jonas Hiller lost in Atlanta.
Having been introduced to the reigning league MVP, the Ducks’ defense buckled down considerably on Ovechkin and the high-flying Capitals. When they didn’t, Giguere was almost never out of position, sprinkling in several point-blank saves among the 34 he made through two periods.
The Ducks tied the game in the second period when Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth allowed a long rebound off a deep Sheldon Brookbank slapshot. The puck came to Dan Sexton in the left faceoff circle, and the Ducks rookie didn’t miss a wide-open net at 11:23.
But Washington, which leads the NHL at 3.81 goals per game, made up for lost time by teeing off against Giguere in the third period.
Shaone Morrisonn angled a deep slapshot in off the skate of Steve Eminger at 1:15 for the go-ahead goal. Mike Knuble scored 56 seconds after, and Alexander Semin scored on a breakaway at 4:15, making it a three-goal game in a three-minute span.
Semin provided the final score with another goal, this time during a 5-on-3 shift, at 11:47.
The Capitals’ eighth straight win is the team’s longest in 26 years.
The Ducks fell to 1-3 on the road trip, which resumes in Tampa Bay on Friday. Giguere stopped 44 shots in his first start since Jan. 3.