Atlanta 5, Ducks 4, shootout.

The Ducks can take solace in the fact that, for the second straight game, it was easier to pare down their problems to a mere handful.

Problem number one Friday was a forward for the Atlanta Thrashers named Anthony Stewart, who nearly doubled his career goal total with a hat trick in the Thrashers’ shootout win. Stewart, who entered the game with four goals in his first 108 NHL games, scored on a breakaway 17 seconds into the opening period, then added two power-play goals in the third period to bring Atlanta back from a 4-2 deficit.

In the shootout, Nigel Dawes scored on Jonas Hiller in the fourth round, the only shootout goal for either team.

“We’re upset with losing the point tonight,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “That is probably as emotional as I have been in losing a shootout because there were mental mistakes that we made that cost us the point, not their effort. They worked and tried. Some nights shootouts go for you, some nights they don’t.”

Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Toni Lydman – playing his first game of the season – scored for the Ducks. Hiller had 29 saves, and Selanne and Perry each had a pair of assists.
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Atlanta 2, Ducks 1.

Steve Eminger’s second goal of the season was all the Ducks would get at Philips Center, where backup netminder Johan Hedberg was stellar in a 34-save victory.

Hedberg’s effort allowed goals by Colby Armstrong in the second period, and Maxim Afinogenov in the third, to stand up. Jonas Hiller stopped 32 of 34 for the Ducks.

Corey Perry did most of the work on Eminger’s goal, charging out from behind the Atlanta net and backhanding the puck on Hedberg from just outside the crease. Eminger skated in unchecked to get the last touch, angling it between the legs of Afinogenov and into the net.

Armstrong took advantage of a long rebound off the pads of Hiller, firing in the game’s first goal from the slot at 4:32 of the second period. Randy Carlyle burned his timeout shortly thereafter, delivered a spirited speech on the bench, and moved Bobby Ryan up to the Ducks’ top line. Perry scored with 2:02 left in the period.

But the Thrasher potted the go-ahead goal, skating 5-on-4 at 4:03 of the third period when a failed clearing attempt by the Ducks landed on Afinogeov’s stick at the right point.

After a sluggish start, the Ducks (24-22-7) bounced back with a strong third period, in which they outshot Atlanta 15-6, including 5-1 in the final five minutes. Completing a night of bad breaks for Anaheim, Ryan Getzlaf hit the post with a wrist shot at the buzzer.

The Ducks are 1-2 to begin their season-long, six-game road trip, which continues tomorrow in Washington.